Kids complain about hot school bus ride

Published: Aug. 24, 2018 at 6:32 PM EDT
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Was it a safety precaution or an ill-conceived punishment?

Facebook blew up in Jackson County today over a bus driver's decision to keep the windows up on a hot day.

News 10's Alani Letang investigated on Friday.

The driver definitely made the kids keep the windows up and that did make the bus even hotter on a hot day.

The Northwest School's superintendent said it was for the kids' own safety. Some parents aren't convinced.

"And he was guzzling water, and I said, 'What are you doing? Are you okay? What's going on?'" said Brittany Stevens, mother of a student on the bus.

"When have you seen that happen and that many parents that are sitting here baffled at seeing their children be treated like that?" said Danielle Powell, mother of a student on the bus.

"They were all soaking wet, ears, face," said Rachel Clemons, mother of a student on the bus.

It's the second day of school and mothers say their children are already fearing the school bus. Their children told them the bus driver made them put their windows up for punishment on a hot day.

"It's very frustrating. I worry about my daughter. I put a lot of trust in these people that are getting our children to and from school," said Katie MacGuinness, mother of a student on the bus.

The superintendent of Northwest said when officials watched the video on the bus, they saw kids sticking their hands out the window. He said that's a safety risk, and that's why the driver ordered the windows to go up.

"Safety is the top priority for our kids and the buses, and it's a situation we can definitely tweak and get better as we go along," said Geoff Bontrager, Northwest superintendent.

The superintendent told Letang the front and back vents were open to allow for some air flow, but one parent said that wasn't enough for her son and he got off a stop early.

"Because they couldn't handle the heat on the bus."

"We have to remember kindergartners and first graders are very active little human beings, and they were very active on the bus. It's about the safety of the kids; it's not about being punitive for kids. I know kids are active but we just want to make sure kids are safe," said Bontrager.

The bus driver works for Dean Transportation and was a substitute on the route. He's been placed on administrative leave.

The superintendent will be asking Dean not to assign him to the district again.

We'll keep you updated.