Parents say bus driver threatened children, refused to drop them off

Published: Apr. 28, 2023 at 6:43 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 29, 2023 at 1:44 PM CDT
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ROELAND PARK, Kan. (KCTV) - A group of parents is calling for accountability in the Shawnee Mission School District.

They say their children, while being threatened by the bus driver, weren’t released to their appropriate bus stops on Tuesday afternoon.

The bus departed from Roeland Park Elementary, taking students to Boulevard Apartments.

Sebastian Fortunato had a daughter on the bus. He tried flagging down the driver, asking why several stops were being skipped.

“He said they weren’t behaving and they weren’t going to let them off until they started behaving,” Fortunato said.

“He was making comments such as, ‘I’ve been in the military for 20 years you don’t want to mess with me.’ To elementary school kids, at that,” parent Alexis McKinley said.

The parents started jumping into action.

“A couple parents ran after him. Our neighbor boxed him in at the end of the complex because he was going well over the speed limit, passing stops with no explanation. When he stopped, my wife called the police,” Fortunato said.

As parents were able to safely take their kids home, they immediately started calling the school district and demanding to see video of how everything unfolded on the bus.

“At this point, with their refusals, I feel as if there’s something that’s being hidden,” McKinley said. “I’m confused as to why none of us parents are being given any answers or why there isn’t further action taken against this bus driver.”

“We would like some accountability for the driver,” said Fortunato. “This is somebody who we trust with our daughter’s life with every day, to and from school.”

Beacon Mobility, the parent company for DC Bus Lines, stated: “Student safety is always DS Bus Lines’ #1 priority, and we take any reports of inappropriate driver behavior extremely seriously.”

Dr. Christy Ziegler, the chief of Student Services, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the school district, released the following statement to parents and guardians: