Spirit of St. Louis – Pick Your Charity, Pick Your Car

Bus driver fired after refusing to take students home

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COLLINSVILLE, IL (KTVI) - Dozens of parents were up in arms after an incident that left their kids stranded on a school bus with an angry driver.

Just before 5 o’clock yesterday, parents were wondering why their children still weren’t home from Dorris Intermediate School in Collinsville. But those questions were answered when a mother got a frantic call from her fifth grader. According to the kids, their bus driver got mad because they were being too noisy. He pulled into the Camelot Bowl parking lot, sat for nearly an hour and refused to take the kids home.

Fifth grader Kayla Lankford explains, “He said, if you don’t want to be stuck on here for a while, then you guys better call your moms.”

Some parents showed up to get their kids. Kayla’s mom, Jennifer Lankford, called police, who forced the driver to take the rest of the children home.  Lankford says, “What made me even more mad was that he didn’t ask for any ID to pick up my daughter, he didn`t ask me for a last name or even who I was.  She just got off the bus and came to me.”

“You know I thought he was very careless. My son is precious cargo,” adds parent Toi Hansome.  Upset parents contacted school officials, who then told their bus company, First Student, that they no longer wanted this driver working in their school district.  First Student took it a step further. Company spokesperson Jen Biddinger states, "We take incidents like this one very seriously. The driver involved is no longer employed by First Student."

Students and parents say the bus driver, who the kids call “Cowboy,” has had previous issues with erratic driving and cursing in front of the students.

17 comments

  • ashley

    my son goes to dis, these kids are always complaining about these busdrivers cussing and yelling. the bus company needs to do a better job on hiring these drivers we pay taxes for these people to drive our kids to and from school safely, leave the discipline to the parents thats not what we pay the drivers to do .

  • rherboth57@gmail.com

    I rode a school bus for years, you sit in your seat and keep your mouth shut, otherwise, the driver talked with your Mom and Dad, then you were really in trouble. This driver handled this all wrong, of course, should talk to the school and have bus suspension’s. The driver must have control over these children, sooner or later something bad will happen. I know when a few kid’s get loud, other’s get louder, then louder, this is stressful not only to the driver, but the smaller, younger children on the bus. Just as in school, everyone must show respect for each other, in this case, both the driver and the students. The company did the right thing letting the driver go.

    • Nowhere_Freeway

      you are right, he did handle it wrong – he probably should have just gone back to school and let the administration take care of the little loudmouths instead of pulling into a random parking lot.

  • sam

    honestly the bus company and the school are not gonna do anything…i have had numerous problems with my sons driver….

  • rherboth57@gmail.com

    sara–Good for you, I don’t know how old you are, but if you were on the bus and know the story, thank you for speaking up.

  • Iusetodrive

    First, I use to drive and yes discipline should be left to the parents problem is kids today are not being disciplined or taught to listen to adults. Kids being very loud and disrespectful can cause distraction and an accident could happen! This is not just your 3 kids in the car arguing, often this is 60 or more getting very loud. And if they are too loud someone could get in a fight and the driver not even know it. Of course that would be the drivers fault too. Bottom line teach kids to respect and how to behave like a human then there would not be the issue.

    That being said, I worked with this driver when he was first hired and I said he had no business driving. He has a temper, acted like an adolescent, and yelled at the kids too much. You have to pick your battles! Anyway, glad he is gone bc I am scared he would end up driving my daughter bus and I would not stand for that!

  • Mom2LP

    First Student is terrible they need to pick their bus drivers better. I cannot go iinto too much detail but it is not just this school district where bus drivers are a problem there are a ton of other districts where this a problem

  • the-angel-kitten

    *facepalm* i can’t believe people saying this is the kids’ fault. technically it’s the driver’s fault because 5-15 minutes is fine to settle down but 40-1 hour is more than long enough.LAY IT OFF THE KIDS.

  • amanda canada

    Cowboy was a great bus driver. The kids are out of hand these days. think he did the right thing. How about these parents that are so mad cause THEIR kids were acting up should drive drive a bus with 40 kids on it…see if they c handle it. He was doing his JOB!!! You guys are pathetic. When i went to Collinsville high the kids would run the bus. Well cowboy stood up to the kids and we all had mad respect for him. You guys took his job away.

  • amanda canada

    Cowboy was a great bus driver. The kids are out of hand these days. think he did the right thing. How about these parents that are so mad cause THEIR kids were acting up should drive drive a bus with 40 kids on it…see if they c handle it. He was doing his JOB!!! You guys are pathetic. When i went to Collinsville high the kids would run the bus. Well cowboy stood up to the kids and we all had mad respect for him

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