ST. JAMES, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island school bus driver has been fired after being accused of bullying children for months.
Jill McDowell told WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall that her two children — a fourth-grader and a second-grader at Mills Pond Elementary in St. James — were afraid of the bus driver after he allegedly harassed about 40 children every morning as they waited to be dropped off at school. McDowell called the behavior “disgusting” and “disturbing.”
“He would go up and down the aisle, pick out different kids and go next to them and really smash them into their window,” McDowell said. “They would bang their heads. He was hitting kids with brooms. He was doing the most awful things, and here we thought our kids were safe.”
McDowell’s daughter said “he would just lay across their laps,” the mother said. “This is a 60-year-old man. What on Earth are you doing?”
Another mother, named Heather, told 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera that her second-grade son was one of the victims.
“The bus driver laid and sat across a row of three children, including my son,” Heather said. “The bus driver’s butt smooshed a child’s head into my son’s face.”
McDowell also said the driver would hold children up by their backpacks and then drop them, make boys sit on top of girls’ laps, make boys kiss each other on the cheek and force kids to shove each other.
“These kids were being abused physically, emotionally,” McDowell said.
The Smithtown Central School District said Towne Bus Company fired the driver.
“As soon as we learned of the allegations, we immediately contacted Towne, who advised that the driver will be removed from any and all district routes and will have no contact with our students,” the district said in a statement. “Towne has assured the district that the driver had been properly screened and trained and that he had no prior incidents. The district will fully cooperate with any investigations into these complaints. As always, the safety and welfare of children is our paramount concern.”
The bus company did not return a call seeking comment.
Some parents are asking for a police investigation.
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