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‘She Had a Smirk on Her Face and Drove Away with Our Kids’: The Real Reason a Georgia School Bus Driver Sped Off with Screaming Kids; Suspension Follows

Mayhem ensued in the Atlanta distant suburb of Dallas, Georgia, on Jan. 19 after an elementary school bus driver refused to let several students off at their regular stop.

Parents were seen catching their children as they climbed out the windows of the school bus in a video shared on TikTok.

The Dallas Police Department is investigating after the substitute Paulding County School District bus driver got into a dispute with parents picking up their children at their usual stop at Old Harris Road and Jimmy Lee Smith Parkway. One parent struck the driver after the driver appeared to push her.

The parents of the Allgood Elementary School students waited for their children per usual on Wednesday. To their surprise, the driver wouldn’t let some of the students off the bus without a yellow tag on their book bags. The yellow tags reportedly indicate each student’s regular bus stop exit. The regular driver was out ill and reportedly had a practice of allowing children off the bus at their regular stop despite not having the yellow tag on their bag.

The Paulding County School District
(Photo: Atlanta News First / YouTube)

The driver was seen on the video trying to push two parents off the bus who were trying to collect their children, which prompted one to smack the driver. As the angered driver sped off, the children on the school bus were heard screaming as one parent yelled, “You don’t do that! Are you nuts? Hey! Hey!”

One parent, Samantha Lee, said her child was scared and thought she was being kidnapped as the bus drove off. “She thought that the bus driver was kidnapping her,” said Lee. “The parents were asking her over and over again, ‘Please open the door. Please let us see our children.'”

Lee also said that the driver struck the parent first. “She takes her left hand, and she assaults the parent right here on her neck,” Lee said. “She closes the doors, and it was kind of like, ‘Okay, I can’t tame you guys, so I’ll take your kids now. And she had a smirk on her face and drove away with our kids.”

According to WSB-TV, when the video is paused, you can clearly see what appears to be the bus driver’s hand on a parent’s shoulder before the parent slapped the driver.

It was after the school bus stopped again at the next stop that several frantic parents pulled their children from the bus. Several parents also pulled their children off the bus from the back door. The bus driver has been suspended pending an investigation.

The Paulding County School District released a statement saying they were investigating the incident while explaining the breakdown of the deboarding process.

“The Paulding County School District is investigating an incident that occurred Wednesday afternoon at a school bus stop at the intersection of Old Harris Road and Jimmy Lee Smith Parkway,” read the statement. “An Allgood Elementary School bus was being driven by a substitute driver as the normal driver for that route had fallen ill that morning. A large number of students typically deboard the bus each day at this particular bus stop. This afternoon that process broke down as the substitute driver was trying to manage the release of the younger students.”

The statement went on to note that the police were called after the argument escalated between the bus driver and the parents. The school district also said a supervisor transported several of the students and the incident was being investigated by the police department.

“A backup resulted and the situation soon escalated as parents waited at the stop for their students. Ultimately, school district personnel requested the assistance of the Dallas Police Department. The school district is investigating the issue as a personnel matter, and the driver has been suspended pending an internal investigation. After law enforcement arrived and students for that stop had deboarded the bus, a supervisor assisted in the transportation of the remaining students. Thankfully, all students eventually arrived home safely. This situation remains under investigation by the Dallas Police Department.”

Reactions to the video on Facebook had many readers shocked by the bus driver’s actions, while others defended her. One reader wrote, “I think people are letting race blur their reasoning. To me, the bus driver did everything possible to protect the kids from being taken. If one of those people was a kidnapper or deranged non-custodial parent, the bus driver would be a hero.”

Another reader thought the parent had every right to slap the driver. “The bus driver pushed one of the parents first, that’s why she got slapped.”

“I feel like that she was doing her job,” parent Dana Toole told Atlanta News First. “I mean, I would rather my kid be safe than just dropped off. Because you can never know what can happen to your kids.”

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