Rutherford County school bus driver reprimanded for skipping stops

Posted at 6:20 PM, Nov 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-10 19:42:15-05

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WTVF) — More problems for the Rutherford County School district, after a bus driver changed the route without notifying parents Wednesday morning.

Parents say the bus driver only picked up half the route and left students in Murfreesboro with no way of getting to class.

Erin Witherspoon just happened to be home to see her kids walk back to the house. They were at the bus stop on the corner of Castle and Hancock Street at least 15 minutes earlier than bus 242 normally arrives. They waited, but nothing.

It’s one thing if her kids were the only ones who didn't spot the bus, but they noticed that their classmates up the street were also waiting on the same bus, from the same route.

"Something could have happened to these kids and you can’t say, well nothing did. You don’t know what people have in plan. You left these kids in harm’s way," Witherspoon said.

Over at Minor Street, there was also no call, no note, and nothing telling parents what was going on. Marcelle Thomas watched her son walk to the bus stop before she began to suspect that no one in the neighborhood was picked up.

Both Thomas and Witherspoon called the district’s transportation department, only to get two different answers. Thomas was told that GPS data showed that the bus never made it down the street. Meanwhile, Witherspoon was told GPS placed the bus on her street at the normal pickup time of 6:47 that morning.

Keep in mind that we’re talking about the same bus, driving the same route, with two stops only a couple blocks away.

A few hours later we learned the driver made a last-minute adjustment that went around Minor Street but somehow made it back to Castle Street in time without anyone spotting it.

"I don’t know if that was against the bus driver that she at her own will just decide not to do by going a few streets because a few kids didn’t get picked up. I don’t know what that was about at all," Thomas said.

The driver has since been punished for not notifying parents about the change in time. It was nearly half a route missed, and these parents say their kids deserve better than to be ignored.

"If that’s your number one job to keep them safe, then what happened today," Witherspoon said.

We contacted the bus driver but did not hear back.

This comes just one week after parents complained of late and overcrowded buses where students were forced to sit on each other’s laps.

The district said drivers would be splitting certain routes to make sure they have enough seats for every student.