Students forced to sit on laps in packed Rutherford County school bus

Posted at 6:07 PM, Nov 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-04 19:31:25-04

MURFRESSBORO, Tenn. (WTVF) — Rutherford County parents demanded answers after a video shows students crammed into one bus and sitting on each other’s laps.

It was a short video, but enough for Edna Parker to immediately know something was wrong on her daughter’s bus.

“She was balled up on the floor, and other kids were sitting on top of other kids’ laps,” said Parker.

There was virtually no room for social distancing, and had there not been any video, Parker’s not sure other parents would have known.

“First thing that came to my mind is not only my child, but other people’s kids are in danger on this bus if something happens,” Parker said.


NewsChannel 5 contacted the district shortly after Parker, and they explained that it’s, “never our expectation for students to have to sit in another student’s lap.”

The district told Parker they would move another bus onto her route, but she says that’s just moving a problem from one route to another.

Rutherford County Schools contract their bus service through independent bus owners. They’re supposed to split their routes if they have too many students and not enough seats. They’re not sure why the bus driver didn’t make the call this time and won’t answer if the driver was disciplined because of it.

What NewsChannel 5 knows is a different bus showed up later that afternoon.

“I know other kids have been complaining to their parents. I mean I would,” said Parker.

Parker knows the bus driver shortage means drivers are spread thin covering as many routes as possible, so splitting routes could be a problem without the drivers to make it happen.

She understands but says children’s safety should never be compromised.

Parents can call the district transportation department directly if they believe their child’s bus is overcrowded. The district can reroute drivers to make sure there are enough seats for each student.

You can also find out more information on the website if you’re interested in becoming a Rutherford County school bus driver.