A group of parents of Strong Vincent Middle School Students say they’re outraged following an incident Tuesday. According to several parents who contacted us, dozens of middle school students were let on Liberty Street near the 1400 block of Liberty Street around 3pm. All sides seem to agree that kids were being rowdy and throwing things on the bus. They also agreed that a fight may have broken out prompting the bus driver to pull over. From there the stories get a little different.
Both moms say when they picked their kids up from the area that they recounted all but a handful of kids being kicked off the bus. Judging by how many kids were on that bus today, that could have been dozens. One of the moms we spoke to, Jessica Enterline says, she counted 40 children walking up that street as she picked her daughter up. She rushed there after receiving a frantic, unexpected call. “I got a phone call from my daughter while she’s crying, hysterical, saying that the bus driver told them they had to get off the bus.”
Courtney Oblinski has a similar story, “I got a call from my son… He said that the bus driver screamed at them to get off the bus; he immediately got off the bus.”
The notion that a school district bus would leave her sixth grader on the side of the road nearly four miles from home doesn’t sit well with this parent. “I asked if he was joking,” Oblinski tells us, “He said, ‘No, Mom, I’m on the street!'” She works as a therapist. She was forced to cancel her remaining appointments for the day as her son was stranded and did not know how to get home from that location since this is his first year at the school.
But, according to EMTA Interim Executive Director Jeremy Peterson, the situation was vastly different. “Basically, it looks like the driver got out, off the bus to use the phone to call our dispatcher. And, at that point, it looks like up to maybe a dozen students exited the bus.”
The district’s superintendent, Brian Polito, says he’s doing everything he can to figure out exactly what happened and what he needs to do to make sure it doesn’t happen again. “We have been in constant contact with the EMTA regarding this issue and continue to investigate it.”
Regardless of what actually happened on that bus Tuesday afternoon, these parents are looking for other options to get their kids to and from school. Enterline tells us, “I’m not letting her ride the bus right now because I just don’t trust anything. There’s so much stuff going around and I just… I don’t trust anything anymore.”