Kicked Off the Bus

By: Amy Morris
By: Amy Morris

Fights on school buses are nothing new, but some local parents want an apology after their kids were kicked off the bus on the way.

Bay County school officials say the substitute bus driver repeatedly asked a group of Rosenwald Middle Schoolers to calm down for a safer ride, stopping the bus twice before calling for help.

School Superintendent James McCalister says, "There was behavior on that bus so bad the driver felt she could no longer transport those kids safely, so she stopped".

This isn't the first-time Route 417 has had problems. In fact, with their regular driver out sick the bus has had three different substitutes in recent weeks due to uncontrollable behavior.

Bay District Schools Transportation Supervisor Malcom Murphy says a parent requested we "put a camera on the bus because of past behaviors. It just so happened those behaviors continued once the tape was in place.”

While school officials have refused to release the tape of the incident due to student privacy rights, NewsChannel 7 was able to view the surveillance video. The tape shows two boys getting booted from the bus by a Parker Police officer, and several other students screaming profanity at the driver. The tape also shows the driver yelling at the kids to 'shut-up'.

However some of the bus riders' parents disagree. Linda Dauphin's son was asked to leave the bus. She says, "As far as what I saw in the tape there was no over-the-top misbehavior.”

Traci Cooley is still steaming her son was told to walk home. She says, "My son told me he was kicked off the bus. When I saw the tape I realized he did nothing wrong.”

However, the tape does not clearly show the back of the bus where the two boys were sitting. Despite parent protests, Rosenwald Middle School administrators have taken disciplinary action against 11 students on bus 417. Some of them are suspended from the bus, others on probation. The rest of the students will also spend the rest of their rides this year in silence.

The bus driver, Mary Perry, will continue to drive for the county on a different route. Murphy says he'll use the tape of the incident to train other drivers about the right and wrong ways to handle unruly students.


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