PARSIPPANY — Intervale Elementary School parents say the Parsippany-Troy Hills School District substitute bus operator of Route 307 has been driving so dangerously and their children are getting hurt. Parsippany-Troy Hills School District uses Student Transportation of America, or STA for transportation of students.
Now, they’re trying to get him out of the driver’s seat, but they keep hitting road blocks.
“He like stopped the bus in the middle of the road. We banged our heads on the seats. And he told us, he like said, ‘Oh my god, be quiet,’” said 7-year-old Katelyn Wheelock.
That’s how sisters Katelyn and Jillian say their bus driver handled chatty kids on the way to Intervale Elementary School. The girls told their dad, and as it turns out, other kids were telling their parents about those dangerous rides too.
“He was not waiting for them to sit down to take off,” mother Noelle Rhodes said.
“I send my 6-year-old on the bus, and I assume that she’s going to be in good hands,” another mom, Gabrielle Bailey, said.
The parents complained to Intervale Elementary, and the school pulled the driver from that route last week. But the school contracts drivers through Student Transportation of America, or STA, so the girls’ dad called them, CBS-TV News Ali Bauman reported.
“They said, ‘No, actually we just transferred him to another school district.’ And I said, ‘So he’s out there today driving kids?’ And they said, ‘Yes, that’s correct.’ And I said, ‘How is that going to solve anything?’” Brian Wheelock said.
Wheelock said “Our Jillian and Katelyn share the story of their school bus nightmare. After weeks of parents and kids safety complaints he slams on the brakes to ‘quiet’ the kids hurting at least two. Police have banned him from our town – but bus company STA in Pine Brook admits they moved him to another town as their solution. Today he is on the road with someone else’s kids….we are rallying to get this driver OFF THE ROAD!!”
CBS-TV New York Channel 2, Report Ali Bauman paid a visit to STA’s bus depot to find out. She asked whether the driver is still on the road and was told, “we can’t disclose that.”
The employees there directed her to a corporate number. Then, the operator directed her to the regional director. After countless voicemails and emails, she still didn’t get an answer.
While the parents say they’re happy the driver is no longer responsible for their children, they want to make sure he isn’t responsible for any others.
Some STA buses have cameras on board, but the Parsippany school district doesn’t require them. Parents say all this could have been resolved if those cameras were rolling.
“All schools in New Jersey should require cameras on the bus to be on. It’s for the safety of these kids and the safety of these drivers,” Rhodes said.
“God forbid something happens to someone else’s kid and they find out there have been complaints against him and he was taken off the route,” Bailey said.
The parents are still fighting to find out where the driver ended up, but without cameras, they’re left wondering what is going on on board.
Video and parts of the story from CBS-TV Channel 2 News.