Jasper County students walk home after school bus incident

cconley@islandpacket.comMay 24, 2013 

Several dozen students in Jasper County apparently walked home from school this week amid allegations of inappropriate behavior on the school bus.

The Tuesday afternoon episode has upset some local parents, who say the district should have called them when it became clear the youths were walking home unattended.

Jasper County School District officials say the bus was en route from Hardeeville-Ridgeland Middle School to Ridgeland when some students on the bus began hurling paper and pencils at the bus driver.

Some also were lighting matches on the bus, according to district spokeswoman Shellie Murdaugh.

At some point, the unnamed bus driver drove the bus to the district's transportation office to seek assistance.

At this time, the students apparently exited the bus on their own after "inappropriate comments" were made by the bus driver, Murdaugh said.

An unknown number of students left the transportation office on foot, she said.

Earlier this week, WTOC spoke with at least two parents who believed the district should have let them know what happened.

Murdaugh said such communication was impossible Tuesday.

"The district has a policy if there is a bus accident or incident, (the) children remain in one location. The parents were not notified in this case because the students left the bus voluntarily and began leaving the area," she said. "At that point, there was not a way in which to notify parents when students leave voluntarily without (telling) anyone."

The bus driver involved in the incident has been reassigned, according to district officials.

District officials told the TV station that there have been problems all year with students on that route.

Follow reporter Casey Conley at twitter.com/IPBG_Casey.

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