Parents irate; Stock suspends driver after he loses cool
The company that provides school bus service in the Halifax area is getting a failing grade from some parents after an unusual incident in Lower Sackville on Tuesday.
They say a driver lost his temper with children on the bus, veered off his route, and then had a police officer come on board to scare them into behaving.
While neither the bus company nor the Halifax Regional Centre for Education will comment, CTV News has learned a driver has been suspended.
It was all the talk among parents at pick-up time at Cavalier Drive School on this afternoon after an incident parents say was over the top.
“The bus driver needs a new line so work,” said parent Rick Corrigan. “Like, go bag groceries or something.”
Parents say it happened Monday and prompted a flurry of comments in an online group.
Parents say the driver lost his cool with boisterous kids on the bus -- and took them for an unexpected ride.
Children told parents the driver veered off his route, travelling down Sackville Drive before stopping at a gas station. They say he then flagged down a police officer and convinced him to come on board to lecture the kids.
Stacie Corrigan says the whole experience was deeply upsetting to her boys, aged five and seven.
“He said his tummy hurt as well, and I asked him, I said, ‘does your tummy hurt because of what happened on the bus?’ and he said ‘yes.’”
While the Halifax Regional Centre for Education declined to comment, CTV News did obtain an email the principal sent to parents, by Cavalier Drive principal Stephen Driscoll.
“Yesterday afternoon the bus driver did not follow the set protocol of coming-back to the school when there is a difficult situation on the bus,” Driscoll wrote. “His decision resulted in an unnecessarily long and emotional bus ride for your children. Stock has informed me that the bus driver is currently suspended pending an investigation of the situation.”
Education Minister Zach Churchill called it a “human resources” matter, and said he wasn't briefed on the situation.
“Obviously, my expectation as minister is that all of our staff are operating to the highest standards of professionalism, particularly when in the presence of students, and I do trust our folks on the ground to make the decisions that they need to ensure that that's happening,” Churchill said.
Still, a suspension not good enough for parents like Corrigan.
“Would you go to a landscaper for a haircut? No, you don't put an a--hole on the bus to drive kids around. If he doesn't like kids, go cut grass.”
That e-mail from the principal told parents the school guidance counsellor would explain to students that they'd have a different bus driver for the time being, but parents tell me the bus simply never showed up at the school.
Late Tuesday afternoon, the company told them it didn't have a driver available because the first priority was to remove the other one.
Stock Transportation did not respond to a request for an interview.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Bruce Frisko.