Parents in a Georgia school district are upset over the actions of a bus driver who mistreated white students he was transporting.
The controversy exploded after a picture of white students standing on a moving bus was posted to social media.
According to the parents of several white students, the bus driver specifically singled them out to stand, even if there were seats. They there are more instances of hostile treatment of white students. The driver is an African American woman.
Parents of the children involved reached out to local media to get some attention, and the school district, The Rockdale School District, is now investigating the photo and the story.
“There (are) clear seats to the right of the students, and only the white students are being made to stand up,” parent Aaron Chase said.
Chase said the photo showing his two boys standing on the bus makes him furious.
Several other parents said they have been complaining about the bus driver for weeks. They said there are safety issues with children standing and claimed the minority students never have to do it.
The bus driver, who is African-American, is now the focus of an investigation.
This is the photo posted to social media that set off the controversy.
One of the children, an eleven-year-old, said the treatment by the bus driver toward them has lasted at least six weeks.
“We have to hold onto the seats pretty tight so we don’t fall over,” the child said.
Georgia law allows school buses to operate with 20 percent above the designed seating capacity, but some kids said attempts to sit in open seats are denied.
“She says, ‘Young man, get out of the seat or we’re not going to go nowhere,'” the child said.
In a statement, school district officials said, “We certainly do take all allegations seriously and will give it the necessary time to completely investigate and find the facts of the situation.”
In a video currently under review by the school district (and shown below), a white child is seen fighting back on the same bus against black students who attacked him. His mother says the bus driver only punished her son, but not the black students.
“The bus driver told him he has to sit in the very front seat, that no one can sit there with him, that no one can speak to him,” the mother said.
While the investigation is underway, Chase said he worries about the message getting through to children.
“She has demonstrated that it’s OK to do this to other kids,” Chase said.
Chase’s two sons have been assigned a new driver this week, but they said they worry about the other kids still with her.
A spokesperson told WSBTV that she expects the investigation to wrap up by Thursday.
Here is video of WSB-TV’s report on the matter.
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