Parents outraged after bus driver allegedly deserts kids

Muskegon County

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — Parents in Muskegon are upset after they say a school bus driver dropped off a group of elementary students at a gas station miles from their homes.

The students told their parents they were kicked off the bus Wednesday afternoon for breaking the “no eating” rule and eating a bag of chips. The children say they had to find their own way home.

“I was really mad, upset. I wanna know why they would do something like this,” said Rebecca Zamora, whose 8- and 10-year-old children were left behind. “You think that they’re safe. You send them on their way and they bring them back. It’s not that hard.”

Zamora says her children were forced off the bus near Continental Street and Holbrook Avenue just off Getty Street. The intersection is more than a mile from their scheduled stop. She says both kids were really shaken up by the incident.

“Anything could have happened with everything that’s been going on — the shootings, abductions. They could have gotten hit,” said Zamora.

Zamora’s kids were not alone. Amanda Castro says her 6-, 7- and 8-year-old children were also left at the intersection.

“Those are our children,” said Castro. “Even if it’s somebody else’s children, you’re going to protect them. I’m still upset.”

Castro said the driver threatened to call police if the students didn’t get off the bus. The children managed to cross Getty Street and reach the home of a nearby relative who called Castro to pick them all up and take them home.

“It’s scary. And what if they didn’t come back? We wouldn’t have even know where they were,” said Castro.

Muskegon Public Schools Superintendent Matthew Cortez said while there are rules that apply on the bus, kicking a student off is not protocol.

“These are lines that you just do not cross as a professional,” said Cortez.”There’s no sugarcoating it. When employees make decisions that aren’t in line with what our standards are, we have jobs to do as administrators.”

Muskegon Public Schools officials say they’re still investigating and reviewing bus footage from the incident. They say depending on the findings of the investigation, the bus driver could be fired.

The parents who spoke to News 8 say they’re pulling their students from the bus indefinitely.

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