GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — In a letter sent to families of Lincoln Elementary students, the Green Bay Area Public School District said a bus driver admitted to drinking beer during a field trip. The company that employed the bus driver said he has now been fired.
As fourth and fifth grade students were headed back from their field trip in Madison, a student noticed a can of open beer leaking under the bus driver’s seat, the school district said in a letter Monday.
"Teachers notified the District regarding what was found on the bus, at which time the District contacted Lamers Bus to ask them to initiate their safety protocols. Lamers shared that the bus had been chartered previously, and it may have been that the bus had not been properly cleaned. Lamers also requested that the teachers speak with the bus driver to determine if they could smell alcohol, which the teachers responded that they could not, nor did they witness any impaired driving," the school district's letter said.
Once the bus arrived at Lincoln Elementary School, the Green Bay Police Department investigated at the District's request. The bus driver admitted to the police that he had consumed beer earlier in the day, while the students were engaged in their activities.
"We regret that this situation occurred. We will be directing Lamers to no longer have the bus driver assigned to District routes," the school district said.
The school district said it will review safety protocols with Lamers.
Lamers released a statement that confirmed most of the details in the school district's letter.
On Monday, April 18, Lamers Bus Lines was alerted to an empty beer can on a charter trip carrying students from Madison, Wisconsin to Lincoln Elementary School in Green Bay. The Green Bay Area School District notified Lamers Bus Lines shortly before the trip returned to the school and said adults on the bus could not smell alcohol and did not witness any impaired driving.
Lamers office staff and the supervisor interacted with the driver, as they typically do, and did not observe any impairment before the driver departed on the trip.
Lamers Bus Lines had a supervisor meet the bus at Lincoln School along with the district safety and security coordinator, and the school principal, to evaluate the driver in accordance with DOT regulations. We were prepared to follow reasonable suspicion guidelines. While onsite the Green Bay Police Department assumed control of the scene and processed the driver according to their protocol.
Lamers will continue to be fully cooperative with the school district and the Green Bay Police Department, and are committed to a safe, drug and alcohol-free workplace. Lamers Bus Lines has a zero-tolerance policy for drugs and alcohol, and the driver has been terminated, effective immediately.