WASHINGTON COUNTY, TN (WJHL)- A state lawmaker from the Tri-Cities region said he’s formally invited the Tennessee Department of Education to take a closer look at safety procedures in Washington County.
State Rep. Matthew Hill of Jonesborough said he’s issued two statements this week from Nashville, both dealing with incidents involving Washington County, Tennessee school buses.
The first incident happened Tuesday on Cherokee Mountain Road when according to a THP report, the driver of a Washington County school bus fell asleep at the wheel.
In that incident the driver, and some students were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
On Wednesday, a different Washington County bus driver was arrested for DUI in Jonesborough, after a caller reported seeing the bus driving erratically on the road.
“…we have two within less, less than 24 hours of each other, we’ve got some, there’s obviously some systemic problems, either with the hiring process or we are obviously finding out now that some folks in leadership, potentially high up leadership, is not following the law, and is not following the safety procedures with drug testing, drug screening, and we don’t even know what is going on with background checks, we’ve got to check in with that as well,” Hill said
Friday afternoon, Washington County Director of Schools, Kimber Halliburton, revealed she had fired her transportation supervisor the previous day.
In an interview with Halliburton Friday, she said her now former transportation supervisor, Randy Adams, told her the bus drivers were subjected to random drug testing twice a year, but that he could not provide any recent results of those tests.
“I was told by Mr. Adams that the bus drivers are test twice per year, and that the latest test occurred January of 2017. When I investigated, I discovered that was not the case, that our bus drivers had not been tested since 2014, so I was given misinformation,” Halliburton said.
Saturday night when we spoke to Rep. Hill, he referred to Halliburton in our interview saying, “I also think it’s very obvious that our superintendent has some very tough questions that she’s going to have to answer sooner rather than later.”
Hill said in the wake of these incidents in Washington County, he’s invited the state department of education to Washington County to further review their safety procedures.
“The department of education is the state agency that’s in charge and responsible with overseeing the safety procedures, and so I’ve formally invited them to come to Washington County and I believe they will be doing that here soon to take a closer look at our safety procedures,” Hill said.
Halliburton had also announced Friday that bus drivers in her county would be undergoing random drug tests within the next few weeks, and that from now on the reports for those drug tests will be handled directly through central office.