Police: Issaquah High School students convinced party bus driver to buy alcohol

October 27, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

UPDATED — 10:55 a.m. Oct. 27, 2011

The city prosecutor plans to charge the driver of a party bus headed to Issaquah High School’s homecoming dance for buying beer and liquor for teenagers aboard the bus.

The party bus driver, a 49-year-old Auburn woman, faces charges in Issaquah Municipal Court of furnishing liquor to minors and reckless endangerment — both gross misdemeanors punishable by up to one year imprisonment and a fine of up to $5,000.

Issaquah High School administrators suspended nine students for alcohol infractions in connection to the party bus incident. Police and school administrators started investigating the incident after intoxicated students arrived at the Oct. 22 homecoming dance.

Students aboard the bus — rented from a Seattle limousine service — convinced the driver to purchase alcohol for them and collected money for the purchases.

The driver then headed to the state-run liquor store in Issaquah, along Northwest Gilman Boulevard, and purchased beer and liquor for the underage riders just before 6 p.m. Oct. 22.

Police said about 20 students rode the bus to homecoming at the school’s downtown Issaquah campus. The driver did not consume alcohol, Issaquah Police Patrol Cmdr. Scott Behrbaum said Thursday.

Later, at the dance, officers and school administrators encountered intoxicated students from the party bus.

Officials suspended four students at the dance and five more students at school in the days after the celebration, Issaquah School District spokeswoman Sara Niegowski said Wednesday.

Under district rules for student conduct, first-time offenders face emergency expulsion followed by a suspension of up to 90 days for alcohol infractions. Students facing emergency expulsion can agree to complete a disciplinary program and earn back credit for all but 10 of the suspension days. The punishment for repeat offenders is expulsion from the district.

Behrbaum said at least some of the students face criminal charges as minors in possession for bringing alcohol onto school grounds. Police must catch underage drinkers in the act in order to arrest someone for being a minor in possession.

(Issaquah police officers usually assist school administrators and chaperones at homecoming and other night-time school functions, such as dances and football games.)

The investigation deepened in the days after the event, after police received information about students aboard the party bus. Then, as students returned to classes Monday, Issaquah police investigators told school administrators the underage-drinking incident encompassed more students than the group disciplined at the dance.

Police interviewed more students and, as more information about the incident surfaced, school administrators ordered emergency expulsions for additional students connected to the incident.

Behrbaum said alcohol and drug infractions occur often among Issaquah teenagers, although the number of students involved in the homecoming incident set it apart.

“We do run across juveniles who have been drinking or using drugs, so it’s not abnormal for us to run across this at one of these events,” he said.

Principal Paula Phelps said the incident offered a chance for parents to educate teenagers about consequences related to alcohol and drug abuse.

“Overall, the homecoming celebration and dance were exceptionally positive, and we do not expect this incident to involve more than an isolated group of students; however, we take this very seriously and will continue to work with parents and community members to remind students of the dangers of drugs/alcohol,” she said in a message emailed to parents and students Tuesday afternoon.

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43 Responses to “Police: Issaquah High School students convinced party bus driver to buy alcohol”

  1. Anonymous on October 25th, 2011 11:10 pm

    Everyone was a teenager once, the penalties for underage drinking have skyrocketed since most people were teens. Is it really fair that teenagers now days can get expelled from the district, when many parents did the same thing as their children and got a slap on the wrist?

  2. bawstonboy on October 26th, 2011 9:17 am

    Unfortunate choice for these teens. I hope they have some remorse. I hope the parents are equally upset over their kids’ choice to underage drink and not be in a “defend my child” mode. That would send an incorrect message.
    I do wonder what the “disciplinary program” entails.
    My suggestion would be that those kids spend some time down on the Rainier Trail collecting the hundreds of bottles and beer cans thrown into our precious creek
    That would be a nice positive move.

  3. Diana LaRose on October 26th, 2011 11:12 am

    I’d go for a little more than a slap on the wrist, but expulsion and long suspension is inappropriate. Schools must prepare students for the future, not potentially destroy their future. With the increasing amount of competition for employment and college admission, a big black mark like this could have serious and long-reaching consequences for these kids. A teenager’s first alcohol-related offense shouldn’t be punished in a way that could limit his or her opportunities beyond high school.

    Maybe have them attend a bunch of classes on the dangers of alcohol, held on successive Saturdays. At the expense of the students’ parents (who, I hope, would make the kids pay them back).

  4. Anonymus on October 26th, 2011 2:41 pm

    I don’t know why the schools even make a big deal out of this. I was in this district 2 years ago before graduating and i would say upwards of 1/3 of all kids drank at every school dance we had. It’s a joke what the schools are doing here.

    They think drinking is dangerous? Did anyone get alcohol poisoning? Did anyone throw up? Why don’t you just teach them how much is too much and let them do what they want. If you don’t want them to be drinking alcohol tell their PARENTS not to let the kids get the alcohol on the party buses. I can tell you right now that the parents at our dances KNEW we had alcohol but also knew HOW MUCH we had and were unconcerned about our safety at those amounts.

    Drinking is a part of a social high school experience and has been for decades.
    I drank most weekends in high school, had 3 honors classes, graduated with a 3.5 and I am now in one of the top ranked business schools in the country. To think that that could have been jeopardized by overzealous administrators and especially police officers is a damn shame.

  5. angie on October 26th, 2011 3:14 pm

    Those that admitted it got suspended. Those that denied it did not. Integrity in the making (or not).

  6. mike on October 26th, 2011 4:10 pm

    The kids shouldnt be suspended from school for this for first offense. Correct penalty should be losing after school priveldges for a period of time, sat alchohol and community service equal to the desired suspension from school. Kids need to screw up and learn from their mistakes, not just get blankedly dismissed from school. Kids this age put a premium on their freedom and independence with their time.Take that away and let them be embarrassed by going to school, not letting them run around on their own for a few weeks away from school, while their parents are at work, etc. Thats not teaching them anything. The person that should do the most ‘time’ for this is the bus drivers that allowed it or purchased alchohol for these kids.

  7. Anonymous on October 26th, 2011 6:37 pm

    That police officers are investigating where these kids got their alcohol is a supreme waste of the police officers’ time and our tax dollars. And the penalties these kids face are draconian. I am 52 years old and drank my fair share of beer and rum and coke’s when I was in high school. I graduated high school with a 4.0 GPA and went on to graduate from a top law school. I am so tired of hearing the phrase “the dangers of alcohol abuse” every time a teenager has a drink. Why is always assumed to be “abuse”? Why should they heed our legitimate cautions against such things as drinking and driving when we adults are so disingenuous about the subject in general?

  8. Anonymous on October 26th, 2011 7:09 pm


    I would hope the parents disagree with the choice they made too, but a possible suspension of 90 days is extremely harsh, and I would hope parents would fight that, as such harsh punishment would effect their whole year. Especially if these students were seniors, who are completing college applications as this time, the punishment utterly and completely exceeds the crime. We were all teenagers at one point, and we all made stupid decisions. Such a minor crime shouldn’t be reciprocated by such an extreme punishment.

  9. Anonymous on October 26th, 2011 8:18 pm

    The kids who were caught should have been suspended. A kid on the bus did almost have alcohol poisoning and almost died. He was throwing up all over himself. The kids parents did not know they had alcohol seeing as the kids had the bus driver buy it for them. I am in the school district and have talked to these kids and know the story. Yes other kids drink but not at school dances and they certainly don’t drink enough to get caught or be dangerous

  10. Anonymous on October 26th, 2011 8:28 pm

    The most pathetic part about the whole incident is listening to kids who were involved brag about getting away with the same offense that other kids who were suspended did, by lying to school officials with the full support and in some cases, participation of their parents. A lot of kids made stupid decisions that night but at least some of them had the guts to own them despite the consequences. I suspect that in the long run those kids will have learned a far greater lesson than the ones who learned that their parents will bail them out of anything and lying is rewarded.

  11. Anonymous on October 26th, 2011 8:31 pm

    Exactly why we should vote no on 1183.

  12. mike on October 26th, 2011 9:08 pm

    This is unreal. I don’t condone underage drinking, but expulsion is a punishment that far exceeds the crime, especially for first time offenders. As far as spending tax dollars to have police investigating this, I’m sure we can find better crimes for them to look into. This could really hurt a kids self esteem and future. I know I would have been devastated to have been expelled from school. I drank in high school, was an honor roll student, and never got into trouble, but if they breathalyzed me at a dance that would have been a different story.

  13. anonymous on October 26th, 2011 10:35 pm

    Suspension is pointless because all it teaches them is to not drink on campus. All they’re gonna do now is do it off campus which isn’t helping them out. Also the fact that getting into decent colleges these days is getting harder and harder and something like this can ruin the rest of their Lives. I think Issaquah High School is handling the situation in a completely irrational way. One bad decision like this in high school shouldn’t affect the rest of their lives. Maybe suspensions can be handled out to repeat offenders but not 90 days or expulsion. I think the previously mentioned ideas of community service on saturdays or attending classes on alcohol would be a better idea because not only does it help each individual personally but doesn’t put a damper on the rest of their lives. I mean come on its high school, we’ve all been there we know what its like I can guarantee you that at least 40 -50 percent of the school was drinking that night.

  14. mrs. kraavitz on October 27th, 2011 6:45 am

    90 days was for the student responsible for supplysome of the alcohol. The others got 10 days for being under the influence at a school function.

  15. Em on October 27th, 2011 8:07 am

    Suspensions reward some and create barriers for improvement. In King County, if a child misses 10 instructional hours of any class, in a given semester, they may lose credit for the whole class. This can lead to delayed graduation and increase the likelihood of dropout.
    Indeed, it is not acceptable to drink on school grounds, or events. Other consequences are more appropriate.

  16. parent of an IHS student on October 27th, 2011 9:03 am

    These are good kids that made a bad choice and our job as parents is to teach them to take ownership of their mistakes. All the kids on that bus made a choice and in real life, choices come with consequences. Unfortunatly sometimes extreme consequences. My child made a choice and I am proud that he/she took ownership. I agree the punishment my be a bit harsh. This was an ideal opportunity to teach our kids how to be responsible people. I am disgusted with all the parents who sat in the VP’s office with their child as the flat out lied to the school about there involvment..SHAME ON YOU!! Two weeks of suspension is definitely worth my child’s integrity.

  17. Jordan, IHS graduate, class of 2011 on October 27th, 2011 11:23 am

    I think it’s appropriate that these students were suspended. The IHS campus is supposed to remain drug- and alcohol-free, regardless of the school hours or events. These students are teenagers and they will make their own decisions, but they need to take responsibility for their actions. The fact that they drink alcohol or smoke weed or do other drugs is their own problem, and the school is not responsible for preventing that. These kids are going to do illegal things, but they should have been smarter. Bringing drugs and alcohol to school, whether it was homecoming or not, was a stupid move. Now they’ve jeopardized their future because they didn’t think that they would get caught. They deserved to be suspended, and I hope that they learn that there are serious consequences to serious actions.

  18. Anonymous on October 27th, 2011 11:58 am

    I think they should be suspended for the 90 days and then be required to wear bright red scarlet A’s to remind others of their sinful, vile ways, oh wait…

    Fundamentally, the punishment these kids are subject to is way to harsh. To all the parents who agree, I would suggest voicing your concerns at the next school board meeting. I have two kids at Issaquah High and I don’t allow them to drink, but they are human and its certainly a risk. I would hate to see their future ruined because of district rules that seem to have been drafted by puritans

  19. a mom on October 27th, 2011 12:23 pm

    While I do think the penalties that these students are receiving are a bit harsh and yes, I was one of those teens that did the same exact thing back in high school the difference between the kids with beer at a party and these kids is very clear here. What the heck are they doing about the ADULT who supplied the alcohol to these kids? The parents should sue the limo company and the driver and as part of whatever settlement they should be required to disclose this information to any potential renter of limo/party bus services. These kids didn’t rent the limo without the express approval of the parents – they’re too young to enter into a rental agreement. Drinking, unfortunately is “part of the high school experience” and one that I truly wish I HADN’T done back then. I made some really stupid choices under the influence and even stupider choices for encouraging others to “party” with me.

  20. Anonymous on October 27th, 2011 1:07 pm

    Voting no on 1183 wouldn’t help in this situation. The driver bought the alcohol at the State Liquor Store.

  21. Anonymous on October 27th, 2011 1:48 pm

    The fact of the matter is (whether you’re an adult or a child) drinking is ILLEGAL if you are under 21. School campuses are smoke, alcohol and drug free. If you come to school as an ADULT drunk or on drugs – you get the police called on you. Same goes for UNDERAGE kids. I think suspension gets the kids what they want – free time at home. With parents who obviously don’t supervise their children. I think segregated schooling (in school suspensions) are the way to really teach a lesson. Parents (yes, you – the ones who drank when you were in high school) need to realize that by allowing your underage students to break the law by drinking – you are telling them they are above the law and not all the rules apply to them. My child is a student at Issaquah HS, and most of these kids were sophomores. That’s 15 years old. Who rented them a PARTY BUS? Come on!
    Also – voting no on 1183 would not do a damn thing for this situation. The party bus driver (of legal age) went to a STATE RUN liquor store and bought the kids beer and alcohol. Unfortunately – 1183 does not make being stupid illegal.

  22. Anonymous on October 27th, 2011 3:55 pm

    As a current student I think the whole thing is ridiculous. More teenagers drink than everyone thinks and there are almost never problems. These kids just weren’t very smart about it and everything is getting blown out of proportion. I think i 10 suspension is warranted but nothing more. Plus I think its BS that some parents think its better for their kids to get suspended than lie about it. Get over yourself.

  23. An enderman on October 27th, 2011 7:44 pm

    The punishments are harsh, just because of one stewpid mistake they made as a kid thier entire lives were messed up. I knew some of the ppl that got suspended. Most of them werent bad people. I think we shouldnt just toss them out of the district. But use it as an oppurtunity to educate the issy high student body about the dangers of underage drinking. Im an issy high student and i approve of this message,

  24. Concerned For the Future on October 27th, 2011 8:03 pm

    Anonymous student who spoke on October 27th at 15:55,
    There is no “getting over yourself” needed. To lie is to stoop below integrity. When you lie you lose the respect of those around you and your integrity and dignity are compromised. In the “real world,” which you are pretending to participate in at your youthful age by drinking, does not tolerate lying. If you lie in your job you get reprimanded. There are consequences. Therefore, it is better for students to get suspended than the ones who lied and got “off the hook.” The kids who get suspended learn a valuable lesson about honestly and making good choices. The students who lied and are walking free and gloating about their triumphs will be tomorrow’s white collar criminals. The lesson these liars learn is that they can lie and avoid consequences. There is no integrity in lying. There is no decency and nothing to be proud of. It is an immature and self-disrespecting way to live.

    More teenagers drink than what people WANT to believe. However, this does not make it right and it certainly does not make it justified.

    1183 has nothing to do with this. Students will find a way to get alcohol. If they don’t, they will find a way to get pot, which is even easier to get.

  25. Issaquah Alum (when we were INDIANS!) on October 27th, 2011 9:51 pm

    Nice going, folks. Way to put our school in the news! Really? You couldn’t enjoy homecoming without getting drunk? Sad. Very sad. I hope you reflect during your suspension. Something’s gotta change.

  26. Anonymous on October 27th, 2011 10:01 pm

    Everyone in the issaquah SD are the most clueless people I have ever encountered and all kids drink and smoke in spite of you because they never wanna be like you.

  27. Anonymous on October 27th, 2011 10:03 pm

    Considering the punishment to the bus driver, I’d say the kids got off easy. Morons.

  28. Anonymous on October 27th, 2011 11:02 pm

    While teen drinking is not new, it is not something that should be ignored. These students knew when they talked the driver into buying for them that they were wrong. Every step after that they knew was wrong. The laws and rules were not new to them. I hope getting caught saves them from worse decisions in the future and I hope they don’t blame others for the consequences that they have to deal with. It is not fun and it’s not convenient, but it will make them better adults. It may also keep other students from attempting to do the same thing. Thank you Issaquah HS for not looking the other way when minors are in trouble.

  29. anonymous on October 27th, 2011 11:07 pm

    Sounds like spoiled little brats too me. They got caught drinking and snitched off the person they begged to buy them booze in the first place… I’m not excusing the driver for being stupid but, the kids got what they wanted and are singing a different tune once they were caught.

  30. anonymous on October 27th, 2011 11:20 pm

    Underage drinking is illegal. Alcohol for anyone is prohibited on school campuses, adults included. These are not subject to the personalities and beliefs of the students or staff, it is the law across the country. The kids and bus driver broke the law. The parents who lied and advised their kids to do so are garbage, but that’s not illegal. Maybe next time they’ll just end up dead and the Issy PD won’t need to “waste taxpayer money” (which is a fing joke in this pathetic Tim Eyman gov-by-the-balls/headed for bankruptcy state). We should cut all public funding for schools and just line our kids up for the military. That way when we ship them off to some foreign country they can at least legally get liquored up before they bite it. Less taxes, population control, and the kids get a good buzz. See, problem solved.

  31. Jeff on October 27th, 2011 11:59 pm

    I am sure that the bus driver parked at the side of the Liquor store. There are no windows there. If other consumers would have spoken out,this could have been prevented. I am also sure that the students piled out of the bus to smoke. Any ADULT who saw this should have alerted the liquor store employees. And these kids need a reality check,as well as the parents. What they did was ILLEGAL! Yes the driver should be held responsible. Yet the kids should be too. Loss of driving rights until 21! And no after school events. Deal with the fallout of a bad choice!

  32. Perspective on October 28th, 2011 6:17 am

    All of this could have been avoided by the actions of one single person: the bus driver. Our kids don’t learn integrity when adults act irresponsibly.

    It may be inevitable that kids and young adults will experiment with alcohol, but they still need to be kept as safe as possible. Penalties for those caught drinking under age may seem severe, but they’re less severe than the consequences suffered by those who end up raped, injured, or killed due to irresponsible teen drinking. Like it or not, the responsibility for keeping kids safe still rests with the adults who can and should do the right thing.

    No, I-1183, does not solve this problem, but restricting access to liquor — and keeping the price high — is still a good idea. It doesn’t prevent stupidity, but it inhibits it.

    Thanks to the Issaquah Police and school officials here, for not just looking away and letting this go unaddressed. This action now may well save one of these kids’ lives in the future. Someday they may even realize it, and come back to thank you.

  33. Phil on October 28th, 2011 7:03 am

    If the objective of the school district is to not have kids showing up at dances drunk or stoned, perhaps this heavily publicized incident and the penalties associated with it will serve as a deterrent for students in the future.

    As for the parents who apparently lied to get their kids off, nice example! The negative fallout from that decision will be far greater than a ten day suspension.

  34. TH on October 28th, 2011 10:10 am

    C. G…….A. C……R.J……..P.G……you were all nice kids. One of you sat right in front of my desk and said good-bye on Friday. Little did I know that your seat would be empty on Monday. I spoke at one of your funerals. I was your favorite teacher. Another had a yearbook dedication. A ten day suspension for making a poor decision???? That is nothing compared to the price you four paid. The sad part is that this list will probably have another before I retire. I hope that Issaquah Sudents learn from this.
    My past students……May You Rest In Peace

  35. Teen drinking makes headlines in Issaquah | Seattle Times Newspaper on October 28th, 2011 12:00 pm

    […] The recent suspension this week of nine Issaquah High School students for alcohol infractions and the investigation of a bus driver who allegedly bought the students the alcohol has prompted a lively community discussion. Here’s the news, reported by The Issaquah Press: […]

  36. anonymous on October 28th, 2011 4:43 pm

    There are kids everyday that smoke weed or sneak alcohol into gatorade bottles on a daily basis at school, a normal day, at school, where 2,000 students learn to get an education. Instead of putting such high security on dance nights/party nights they should put more security on regular school days. Kids should be allowed to have fun on special events. Yes, that involves alcohol. Look at the adults on special occasions. What do they drink? Wine, beer, etc. Even weddings have alcohol. Point is the administration and the police should put more security and keep their eyes more open to regular school days. I go to Issaquah High School, and I have at least 3 friends that are high on weed every. single. day. Why don’t they get caught? Because the administration is dumb.

  37. get these kids under control on October 29th, 2011 6:56 am

    I always love the attitude of addicted youth pot smokers and “their friends” who believe that it is EVERYONE ELSE who is dumb! It would be interesting — and unfortunately very saddening given the statistics for kids like those referenced above — to get a glimpse at their grades and the paths their lives take from here.
    And at least the administration at IHS is smart enough to know that taking on this fight in full realization that it would end up all over the media was worthwhile. I’m sure they realized the unconscionable decision made by the driver would make it an instant news story. I’m assuming they never expected SO many students and parents to make an almost equally unconscionable decision, though. And that’s to compromise the truth in a pathetic effort to evade a natural consequence they expected. Whether that consequence is excessive is beside the point. The kids and parents had an obligation to know and stand behind it. I wonder if the bus driver had parents who brought him up the same way! If so, I’ll bet he regrets that now.
    Bottom line: Perhaps IHS needs to offer a Morality and Ethics 101 course. It’s apparent that enough kids are not getting this education at home. And I, for one, consider that kind of education more important than the Three R’s.

  38. anon on October 29th, 2011 1:30 pm

    One of my friends was caught drinking and what did she get?
    You know what she did?
    She got to go to a skrillex concert in seattle and a skrillex rave(oh yay more alcohol) afterwards with 3 of her bestest friends. Yeah suspension is so effective against these teens.
    Yeah, no.
    They get to do whatever they want no school because they made a bad decision………….
    Suspensions not the right type of punishment for us

  39. Travis on October 29th, 2011 2:25 pm

    I am in the Party Bus/Limo industry and can tell you from personal experiance that ALOT of parents turn a blind eye to drinking on buses and limos. And then they get all butt-hurt when the kids get caught and they want to blame everyone else except there little angel kids. I hope this effects the kids chances of a good college. The rewards should go to the kids that didnt break the rules. SUSPENSIONS FOR ALL!!!

  40. get these kids under control on October 30th, 2011 8:02 am

    To “Anon”: You’re absolutely correct. Too many suspended kids do not receive the kinds of consequences they should from their parents. The schools can only do so much. At some point the parents need to do what’s expected of them: BE PARENTS!
    And kids who avoid suspensions because their parents rationalize and justify their children’s behavior should take the same advice.

  41. Anonymous on October 30th, 2011 8:23 pm

    dumb@sses… ruined their fking life……

  42. Party Bus Guy on November 1st, 2011 8:18 pm

    90 day suspensions, are you serious? That seems a bit excessive to me. I’d say a large percentage of kids drink before their homecoming, why is it such a huge deal?

  43. Anonymous on November 2nd, 2011 7:59 pm


    You are a moron. That is all.

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