West Warwick students traumatized after erratic bus driver scare
WEST WARWICK, R.I. (WLNE) — Parents and students in West Warwick were left worried after their children came home from school traumatized after they said their bus driver was driving erratically on the road Thursday afternoon on the ride home from school.
Kindergarten fourth grade students who ride bus #11 from the Greenbush Elementary School came home from school, many in tears, and traumatized after they say their bus driver was out of control on the road, swerving, hitting stop signs, on his phone while driving, and for some kids, driving right by their stops. Forced to get off at another bus stop and walk home.
Frank McMahon, a spokesperson for First Student, the company that owns the bus the students were on, confirmed they’re aware of the incident and are investigating.
“First Student has an incredible responsibility every day to safely transport students to and from school and we take that responsibility very seriously,” said McMahon. “We were made aware of an incident involving Bus 11 yesterday and immediately launched an investigation to gather the facts. Our driver will not be operating a bus through this investigation.”
“I don’t understand how he got his license for it,” said Samara Orellana, whose 10-year-old daughter was riding the bus Thursday. “You think it’s funny to do that to children? Like they’re supposed to be under your care?”
Orellana said her daughter called her while on the bus ride home, crying as the driver erratically drove past her stop. The usual bus driver was out sick Thursday and was out again Friday.
“My daughter was crying telling me the bus driver keeps driving around not dropping any kids off,” Orellana said. “He’s going over curbs. Hitting stop signs and he’s laughing as he’s doing all of this.”
Other parents also took to Facebook to voice their concerns and trauma over Thursday’s events. Many of them echoed Orellana’s words of their children coming home in tears, saying they never wanted to ride the bus again.
Friday morning, Orellana drove both her daughter, as well as her 8-year-old niece, who also rides the bus, and was on it during the incident to the school.
The West Warwick School District confirmed they’re aware of the incident and are working with First Student to investigate.
“West Warwick Public Schools puts the safety of our students, volunteers, teachers, and staff first. There was a concern brought to the school department’s attention regarding one of our bus routes from Thursday. At this time, we are working with our transportation company, First Student, which employs the bus drivers, to conduct a thorough investigation. If more information becomes available and is appropriate to share, we will communicate it in accordance with all applicable privacy laws.”