Last Thursday, a New Jersey school bus driver, after dropping some of the elementary school children on the bus near their homes, reportedly drove to her own home in another city with the 14 children still left on the bus and abandoned them, telling the bus attendant, “handle these kids yourself.”
WABC reported, “Around 4:30 p.m., police officers responding to calls of a school bus that had missed designated stops found the bus near Stuyvesant Avenue and Abinger Place, Newark police said.” WABC noted, “The bus driver was issued a summons for driving with a suspended license. Police took the children to a nearby precinct where parents picked them up.”
The bus was returning from Avon Avenue School in Newark. An eleven-year-old girl with special needs, Amber Easterling, who has won awards in the Special Olympics and bowling, recalled, “She told the bus attendant that you gonna have to handle these kids yourself.” Her mother, Angele, told WABC, “I was cleaning up, getting my daughter’s food ready for dinner and I realized it was four o’clock and she wasn’t home.” She continued, “I’m just mad about it because there’s a lot of things happening now on the streets, kids getting missing.”
Newark Public Schools issued a statement saying that the bus company’s contract was canceled: “The District has removed this vendor from transporting students to Avon Avenue School and is in the process of determining next steps regarding future services. In addition, because established guidelines were not adhered to, the District has also imposed liquated financial damages for this infraction. This continues to be an active investigation.”
Angele Easterling concluded, “I’m still sick on the stomach because right now I’m not letting my daughter take the bus to school.”
The school later held a meeting with Child Protection Services.
In May 2019, CBS Pittsburgh reported that a school bus driver allegedly abandoned a group of elementary school students at least two miles away from their school. One parent, Sundiata Rice, got a cell phone call from her daughter telling her that she and eight other students had been abandoned. She stated, “I’m very upset, but, you know, like I said, the best thing is that my daughter had a cell phone to get in touch with me. I always stress that importance, like, keep that cell phone charged.”
The driver faced child endangerment charges.
CBS Pittsburgh reported, “According to the Pittsburgh School District, before this trip, their transportation department had removed the driver from all routes in the district pending the results of an investigation related to a prior complaint. First Student did not notify the driver until he began his route. After he was notified, he stopped the bus and told the students to get off.”
Also in 2019, a Pennsylvania school bus driver was issued a DUI and charged with 26 counts of endangering the welfare of children after allegedly abandoning almost 30 children at a gas station. One student told WFMZ, “When there was a turn, a right-hand turn and when she took it she was going far too fast. She ended up being halfway into the opposing lane of traffic.” The student continued, “She ended up telling us to… go f*** ourselves and flipped us off. You know, stuck her hand in the air and flipped us off.”
Complex.com reported, “She parked the vehicle at a nearby gas station where she got off, and prevented the kids from making their way out as well. The children were able to escape through the emergency door located in the back of the bus.”