A minivan driver who allegedly tried to lure a child in the Magnolia neighborhood on Wednesday was actually a contract employee for the district and the incident was a misunderstanding, Seattle Public Schools said Thursday morning.
Police were notified Wednesday by a woman who said she was waiting with her elementary school-aged child near 34th Avenue West and Brygger Drive West around 8:20 a.m. when a man claiming to be a school transportation official tried to lure her child. After the interaction, the woman took out her cellphone and began snapping pictures of the gold minivan before the man drove off, police said.
The driver, who works for ALC Solutions, had been assigned to transport a Lawton Elementary School special-needs student for the first time, according to his supervisor, Yahya Khedir.
The driver was unsure of who he was picking up, Khedir said, so he stopped at the bus stop to ask if the child was the student he was supposed to assist. The driver then went to the school and found the correct student and transported that child.
The driver was confronted by police Thursday morning near the same bus stop where the alleged luring attempt occurred, said district spokeswoman Stacy Howard. The driver didn’t know they were looking for him.
Khedir said the driver called him Thursday morning “freaking out.”
The driver, who has worked for ALC Solutions for some time, “didn’t know what’s going on. There were police cars and reporters,” Khedir said.
The driver had a placard posted on the minivan window identifying him as a driver for the district, Khedir said.
“He has all the documentation necessary to do the job. He showed police the documents he has this morning. He did nothing wrong,” Khedir said.
Howard called the incident “obviously a misunderstanding.”
Some of the confusion between the parent and the driver on Wednesday stemmed from “a language barrier,” Howard said.
The school district is investigating whether all protocols were followed by the driver. Seattle police said Thursday that officers verified that the driver is “a transportation provider with legitimate business at the school.”
Khedir said the driver remains on the job.