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Albany school bus driver put on leave after alleged 'joking' threats to students

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GAPS resolves busing issue (copy)

A Greater Albany Public Schools bus driver allegedly told children he would "put them under the bus and run them over." He has been placed on administrative leave while the district investigated the incident. 

A bus driver for Greater Albany Public Schools has been placed on administrative leave after allegedly telling elementary school-aged children he would put them under the bus and run them over.

The mother of a child on the bus, Krystina Mendez, posted a video on the community Facebook page “What’s Up Albany Oregon” of a confrontation she had with the bus driver. In the video she says, “Did you tell my kids that you would put them under the bus and run them over?”

The driver responded, “I was joking.”

After about a minute of back and forth among two parents and the driver, the driver closed the doors and drove away.

According to an article by KEZI, the children were singing “Happy Birthday” on the bus when the incident occurred. Children got scared and called their parents when the driver started yelling, according to KEZI.

The incident occurred on Bus 13, which was transporting children home from Sunrise Elementary School. Principal Kimberly Jordan sent an apologetic message to parents.

“I am very sorry this has occurred and am confident the investigation will lead to a satisfactory conclusion,” the message said.

The school district also acknowledged the incident, posting on Facebook that officials saw the video.

“We are actively investigating, and during this time the driver will be placed on leave,” the post said. “Outside of this statement, we will not comment on individual personnel matters. The safety of our students remains our number one priority.”

The district is facing a dire shortage of bus drivers, just like the rest of the country's school district and municipalities. After routes were condensed during the 2021-22 school year, GAPS incentivized bus drivers to apply by offering various bonuses throughout their time with the district.

Joanna Mann (she/her) covers education for Mid-Valley Media. She can be contacted at 541-812-6076 or Joanna.Mann@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter via @joanna_mann_. 

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