A substitute Columbia County school bus driver is under investigation after pupils riding his bus claim he threatened them on the after-school route Wednesday.
A woman called authorities after she said the substitute driver slammed on brakes, pulled to the side of the road and walked around the bus cursing, according to a Columbia County Sheriff’s Office incident report.
The driver, who was filling in while the regular driver was on medical leave, told deputies that an administrator at Euchee Creek Elementary School told the pupils on the bus to behave before leaving school grounds.
“All year long, we’ve had some behavioral issues on this bus,” school system Transportation Director Dewayne Porter said. A monitor usually rides on the bus. A teacher and even the principal have ridden as a monitor in the past.
The pupils were elementary schoolers, kindergarten through fifth grade, Porter said. All had signed “behavioral contracts,” in which the pupils agreed to behave properly.
Once on the road, the driver said he had to stop three times to tell the children to quiet down, according to the report.
The third time, the driver said, someone threw a coat over his head blinding him as he drove on Harlem-Grovetown Road. He said he stopped the bus, turned it off, got out and walked around it out of frustration, the report stated.
“It is more than just an aggravation,” Porter said. “It becomes a safety concern when drivers come back and tell us that they can’t control the kids or the kids or up out of their seats constantly. That’s the kind of things that have been happening.”
Porter said some of the pupils claim the driver threatened to leave them on the side of the road and threatened to kill them.
The driver called the transportation office and was told to return to the school, where the pupils were picked up by their parents.
Porter said he is investigating the incident and is collecting statements from all the pupils as well as the driver.
“The truth is somewhere hidden in the midst of this,” Porter said. “No decision has been made as to what we will do, if anything, with this bus driver.”
A decision should be made next week when the investigation is complete, Porter said.
Responding deputies and Porter did not see skid marks and deemed that the children were not in any reasonable danger where the bus stopped.