Warren County school bus incident under investigation

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WARREN COUNTY, Ky. (WBKO) -- A Warren County school bus incident is under investigation.

"I thought it was going to be a normal bus ride but it wasn't," said Ariel McCoy, 1st grader at Alvaton Elementary.

A situation on Friday escalated with the substitute driver, kids and parents which was caught on camera. The video has over 120,000 views on Facebook and over 2,000 shares.

The video and the police report indicate a chaotic scene shown around bus #2744. "Children were running in every direction," the report said.

Pascoe Boulevard and Cave Springs is where the beginning of the video shows a stopped bus with kids inside

Prior to this, officials say the driver was having issues controlling loudness and behavior.

"It got worse because she was skipping stops and kids were getting mad and starting to cry," said Mason Hendricks, a 6th grader at Alvaton Elementary.

The driver told officers she stopped the bus and ordered for absolute silence and when the children disregarded her she wouldn't let anyone off the bus.

"I said mom, get me off this bus right now, every kid is crying I'm just kinda scared," said Hendricks.

Superintendent Rob Clayton said stopping the bus this way is district policy.

"In accordance with district policy, anytime a driver is concerned about whether it's the noise level or particular behavior, that they pull the bus over and try to address that and then proceed on with the route," said Rob Clayton, Superintendent with Warren County Public Schools.

Parents and kids claim the driver had lost her temper several times.

"She was screaming at the children, she was cussing, windows were down on the bus we did hear that," said Johnny West, parent of several children on the bus.

While the bus was stopped near the children's homes, parents and kids say one child opened the emergency exit in the back, and shortly after children started filing out.

"I understand that they aren't supposed to get off of the bus in the case of an emergency, but when I get a call from my son that he's getting held hostage, I was grateful for the kid that opened the back hatch and was brave enough to jump out," said Desiree McCoy, parent of children on bus #2744.

School officials assure at this time it was not a hostage situation after viewing the bus surveillance.

"At this point, after reviewing the video it's more about her inability to have effectively de-escalated the situation," said Clayton.

Several parents we spoke to Monday are still uneasy about what unfolded.

"You have a bus full of kids that are all saying the same thing and they're all telling the same lie? I don't think so," said Lisa Raisor, parent of children on bus #2744.

"I will not let them on another sub-bus ever again," said West.

The school district says the bus surveillance does not indicate the driver had cursed or hurt any of the kids.

"If we find that the bus driver did not follow appropriate protocol and policy state law then certainly we will take action," said Clayton

At this time, the substitute driver is still employed.

Warren County Public Schools has released the following statement:

"Ensuring the safe transport of our students is a top priority of Warren County Public Schools, and we are investigating an incident that occurred on Friday afternoon involving bus #2744. The situation occurred during the afternoon route in which a substitute driver stopped the bus to address student behaviors. Before resuming her route and while stopped, individuals in the neighborhood approached the bus. Following the district transportation protocol, the driver requested that the students remain seated on the bus until school personnel and/or law enforcement could arrive. Unfortunately, the majority of students exited the bus at the urging of at least one individual in the neighborhood prior to the arrival of school officials and law enforcement.

School leaders, along with BGPD, spent Friday evening verifying all students made it home safely. We are cooperating with local law enforcement from both the Bowling Green Police Department and the Warren County Sheriff’s Office as we continue to gather additional details. We will review the actions of all parties involved and will take the steps necessary to ensure a similar incident does not occur again in the future."



 
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