NKY parents claim school bus driver refused to let kids off bus

The parents claim the bus driver can be heard on video telling the kids they’ll never see their parents again.
Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 10:02 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 22, 2023 at 11:29 PM EDT
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FORT WRIGHT, Ky. (WXIX) - Some parents in the Kenton County School District are up in arms after they say a bus driver kept their kids on the bus for an hour following school Tuesday.

Barbara Smithson is one of several Fort Wright Elementary School parents feeling a mixture of heartbreak, fear and confusion.

On Tuesday, Smithson says her daughter called her from the bus in a panic.

“And at that point, everybody started yelling, ‘take us home, take us home,’” says Smithson. “It made me scared.”

The parents claim the bus driver told the kids they’ll never see their parents again. Eventually, the students got home, but it was an hour later than normal, the parents say.

“I didn’t even think to drive down here, I ran down here, out of breath, and when I get here, he can’t breathe, everybody’s just crying,” says parent Tonigah Thompson.

Thompson claims her son was pushed off the bus causing him to scrape his knee and trigger an asthma attack.

Courtney Osbourn says she and some other parents went down to talk with the bus driver.

“We go down, and we talk to the bus driver, and he’s laughing at us, telling us, ‘oh, they’re bad,” explained Osbourn. “It doesn’t matter if they’re bad or not. You don’t take it and put it into your own hands for you to keep our kids from us.”

The parents say they received an email from the Fort Wright Elementary School principal apologizing for the incident. They said the principal told them school leaders will be following up with individual students regarding their behavior and that student safety is their No. 1 priority.

However, these parents feel rightfully resolving the matter will require more transparency and a strong vetting process for bus drivers.

“It was unnecessary trauma,” says Smithson. “I feel like, as a bus driver, your responsibility is to keep my child safe.”

Kenton County school leaders said in a statement to FOX19 NOW the district is “aware of the incident and is investigating to ensure all policies and procedures were followed.”

They said they will not release further information until their internal investigation is complete.

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