HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — An Apple Bus driver who admitted to skipping stops because of disruptive students was fired, according to a representative from the company.
The announcement came during a Huntsville City School Board meeting Monday morning.
“Because he did fail to follow the correct protocol, poor student management and controlling kids on the bus, and even deviating from the route, the driver has been removed from Apple Bus permanently,” said Apple Bus General Manager James Akins.
The incident took place on March 16. Police say the bus driver pulled over on Sparkman Drive near Pulaski Pike and called the police to get help with the situation.
Video quickly began circulating on social media of elementary school-aged children attempting to explain to parents that the bus driver had tried to kidnap them. Police say they are investigating the claims but at this time they believe the claims were exaggerated.
Akins said there were four cameras on the bus and company management studied each video of the incident several times. He confirmed that the driver did skip his first few stops because students were being disruptive, and that he did make inappropriate comments, but never seriously threatened any children.
“And from reviewing the video we didn’t see anything where the driver had any intentions of taking the students any other place than their designated spots,” Akins said.
School board members urged company management to review disciplinary policies with their bus drivers.
“Thank you for taking swift action and showing that Apple Bus is serious about the way drivers need to behave with our children,” said school board member Elisa Ferrell.
School board members agreed that the termination was necessary, but also made a plea to parents to talk to their children about appropriate behavior when riding the bus.
“Not dropping them off at their destination was definitely off the mark,” said school board member Michelle Watkins. “But let me say, a bus driver cannot control the vehicle when students are up dancing, wrestling, kicking the bus windows, when students are doing things that they would not do in the car with their parents.”