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Bus driver doesn’t let kids off…for a reason

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DAVENPORT - Durham School Services is responding to angry parents after one of its bus drivers did not let children off of the bus at an apartment complex Thursday.

Durham School Services says bus 57 was leaving Eisenhower Elementary in Davenport Community Schools Thursday. Once it got to the Case Creek Apartments off of Elmore Avenue though, a conflict erupted.

Durham School Service General Manager Curtis Wheeler says his bus driver pulled over to the side of the apartment complex and would not let the kids off the bus, but he did it for a reason. Wheeler says that was because the kids were standing up and acting inappropriately.

"I would rather err on the side of caution and get the students home safe and late than push the limit and wind up with injuries," Wheeler said.

The bus driver pulled the bus over at a non designated bus stop though. He pulled over a block away from the designated bus stop, and it left parents wondering where the children were.

Eisenhower parent Lolisa Foster found out the bus driver had pulled over in her complex. She went to the scene and tried to get her child off the bus, but the driver would not let her. She said her five-year old son started to worry when the bus driver would not let him get off. That infuriated Foster and other parents in the complex.

"The fear that a five-year old has knowing that he can't have his mom is unexplainable," she said Friday.

According to Wheeler though, the bus driver did his job, even with the mother asking for the driver to open the door. Wheeler says he trains his drivers to only let children off at the designated spot because they do not know the children's parents.

"How do I know you're the parent?" Wheeler said. "I don't know."

Foster says she argued with the driver for about 20 minutes at the non designated stop. Wheeler says after the bus driver was able to calm down the students, he dropped them off at the designated spot.

Durham School Services had a different driver on the route through the Case Creek Apartments Friday. It is still investigating the issue. The bus service also has video of the scene, but it would not release it Friday. Davenport Community Schools is working with the bus service on the issue.

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