WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – A New Hanover County school bus driver was suspended without pay Thursday after allegedly kicking a student off the bus almost a mile from the boy’s school.
According to the student’s mom, Jazmia Sidbury, she received a call Thursday morning from her son’s friend right after the incident happened.
She said the friend told her that her son and others were goofing off on the way to International School at Gregory. According to the mom, the bus driver told the boy to move to a seat in the front of the bus. When her son asked if he could sit with his brother instead, the bus driver said he had an attitude and told him to get off the bus.
He then ran almost one mile to get to class.
The New Hanover County School system has identified the bus driver as Gwen Craig.
The mom said her son was kicked off the bus near the Hillcrest neighborhood at Dawson Street. She said the boy ran almost a mile across busy streets to get to Gregory, which is located at 1106 Ann Street.
The boy’s mom said she immediately called the school, which didn’t know anything at the time about the incident that had just happened. She spoke with the school’s principal, who said she was mad as well, the mom said.
“I know when you’re having troubles or issues, the correct thing to do is to pull over and notify someone and let them know what’s going on,” Sidbury said. “Had that child not called me from the school bus, I would have never known that my child was put off the school bus and anything could have happened to him. He’s 8 years old.”
Sidbury also met with the school system’s Transportation Director Ken Nance, who told her that action was going to be taken, and apologized on the school system’s behalf.
According to the school system, the incident is under investigation by the district. WECT requested the video from the school bus, but was denied by the school system because the video is “now part of a personnel investigation.”
Sidbury said she plans to press charges against the bus driver, including criminal negligence.
The school system sent WECT a list of bus driver guidelines, with one reading, “Driver will not add stops, delete stops or change direction from the route without approval from Division.”
Sidbury said the bus driver violated this rule, and that suspending her isn’t enough.
“I think she should be fired,” she said. “I’m sorry. You let an 8-year-old child off the school bus. I’m pretty sure it’s protocol in situations like this in case a child is acting out or the bus has to be stopped, or any of the above because … one, I think she needs to be terminated because she never even notified or radioed the school that she put my son off the school bus in the first place. Had she done that, then it would have been a different story. She put my son off the bus and kept going.”