Pasco schools bolster safety protocols as students celebrate bus drivers

PASCO, Wash. — In the wake of the tragic murder of a longtime Pasco bus driver, school officials are updating their safety protocols while students across the city showed their support for these essential community members.

On Monday, September 27, students at elementary schools across Pasco created signs and displays in solidarity with the bus drivers who transport them to and from school each day. During afternoon pickup, several drivers received goodie bags filled with treats as students lined the sidewalks with posters and signs with caring messages.

This beautiful display came just three days after one driver, 72-year-old Richard Lenhart, was fatally stabbed by a crazed suspect who boarded the school bus filled with children and committed the heinous crime.

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In wake of the tragic incident, the Pasco School District is implementing further protocols to keep drivers and children safe.

First off, drivers will be required to keep bus service doors closed unless children are boarding or exiting the vehicle. All adults will have to communicate with the driver through the driver’s side window from now on.

However, an exception can be made if the driver recognizes this adult as a caregiver picking up a kindergartener or a student with special needs; or if the individual is a PSD staff member.

RELATED: Pasco bus driver stabbed, killed with Longfellow Elementary students onboard

Representatives of the Pasco School District including staff, counselors, administrators, and board members were at Transportation and Longfellow Elementary School to show their support on Tuesday morning.

Therapy dogs were on-site to bring a smile to the faces of those impacted by this incident. Members of Lenhart’s family attended the gathering, as well as Pasco police officers, volunteers from Chaplaincy Healthcare, and the Canine Crisis Response Team.

School officials are also working with the Washington Schools Risk Management Pool to access the safety of current pick-up and drop-off locations across the region.

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