VANCOUVER -- A Vancouver school bus driver under fire for sweltering conditions on her bus last week has resigned for personal reasons, a school district official said Wednesday.
"It just felt like a heater or an oven," one student at Silver Start Elementary School said after riding with the windows closed in record-breaking heat last Wednesday. Kids began calling it the "torture bus."
Angry parents flooded the district with phone calls and the driver was put on leave, said Evergreen School District spokeswoman Gail Spolar. Monday the driver resigned after 25 years with the district, Spolar said.
The driver's name has not been released.
She's accused of refusing to let students open the windows on her bus, which doesn't have air conditioning. Students claimed it was in retaliation after some of them put paper in the heating vents the previous week.
"I didn't expect this kind of thing from people who have care of your children," parent Kerri Craighead said Wednesday. "I expected better."
One man whose grandson rides the bus said it was likely a one-time mistake and it's a shame someone who has driven for the district so long is leaving over the controversy.
"Everybody makes mistakes. She had to have been a fairly good bus driver to have been there for 20-some years," said William Kramer. "And to make a mistake, hey, people learn from it. I hope the best for her."
School district rules say the driver must set the windows at the appropriate level before kids enter the bus. The rules also give drivers authority to discipline bad behavior, but state they must verbally warn the student, assign specific seats, or request a meeting with the parents if there is a problem.
"A memo has been provided for all the bus drivers reminding them of the proper procedures to ventilate buses on warm days," Spolar said Wednesday. "We urge parents, if they have any concerns, to let us know since it is our responsibility to ensure the students' safety."
KGW reporter Nina Mehlhaf contributed to this report