WARNING: The video attached to this story contains profanity. Viewer discretion is advised.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Students on a Jefferson County Public Schools bus said they were followed and threatened with a gun on the route home from school Friday afternoon, the district said.
In a letter that went home to parents Friday, Jamie Wyman, principal of Carter Elementary School, said the bus involved was Bus No. 2047. According to Wyman, the incident began when an adult and a child — neither of whom were parents or students from Carter — appeared at a bus stop, got onto the bus and began threatening the students.
Wyman said the bus driver escorted them off the bus, but the pair then got into another vehicle and followed the bus along its route.
"Students reported seeing the occupants of the vehicle display a gun while following Bus #2047," Wyman wrote.
Both the Louisville Metro Police Department and JCPS Security were notified of the incident, and the bus driver was told to return to Carter without making any more stops. Students were asked to stay on the bus until representatives of both law enforcement agencies arrived.
"I wanted to thank all of you for agreeing to come pick up your child from school," Wyman wrote. "We feel this was the safest and best way for your children to get home today. I also want to thank the bus driver for his quick action and for stepping up to keep all of our kids safe.
"I understand that your child may be suffering some trauma from this incident. I hope that you will discuss what happened with your child and reach out to our counselor who will be able to talk to students on Monday."
A video allegedly taken by a student on the bus while the adult and child boarded the bus shows a chaotic scene.
That video, obtained by WDRB, appears to show several elementary school students screaming while a man stood at the front of the bus yelling and hurling profanity.
"I'm gonna flip this whole bus and everybody on it!" he shouts. "I mean that! I mean that! That goes for everybody on here! Touch my daughter again, and I'm gonna flip this whole bus! I'm not playing! You don't let nobody touch my kids, bro! I'm not playing, bro! All that bully [EXPLETIVE], all that big bully [EXPLETIVE] y'all got going on? I’m not playing!"
Children can be heard screaming and crying. One child weeps, "I wanna go home! I wanna go home! I wanna go home!"
Lakesia Jeffery said her grandson was one of the students on the bus.
"When I see something like this, it breaks my heart as a grandparent," she said.
The situation was made even more difficult, Jeffery added, because her grandson's father was murdered last year. She said the chaos on the bus reopened old wounds.
"My grandson was traumatized when he got home from school," she said. "He was traumatized. He was scared. He was frightened. He didn't want to get back on the bus. He thought he was gonna be shot. He said, 'I don't want to get shot.'"
Thankfully, she said, the bus driver acted calmly and rationally.
"The bus driver, I do believe, he did protect the kids with what he knew how to do," Jeffery said. "You know, he didn't get on the bus to drive a bus to say, 'Hey, I'm a bulletproof vest,' but he did what he thought was right at the time. But I feel like the school could have responded better."
She said that means more protection for students from the moment they step on the bus, to their time in the classroom, to the moment they arrive home.
"I think — with what's going on in the community right now — that those buses need security on them, just because of instances like this. We have to do something better."
Angel Clay, whose 10-year-old daughter was on the bus during the incident, said her daughter was targeted by the man and girl that got on the bus.
"You touch my daughter again, you gonna have to get your momma, your daddy, your uncle, whoever," the man is heard screaming in the video.
"This man, and this little girl that's in middle school, trying to get my baby," Clay said. "It's not just my baby. She's the target. But it's other kids."
Clay said her daughter and the girl that got on the bus have experienced issues before but that her daughter has since avoided her. Clay said the girl and adults involved have tried to approach her daughter several times before the bus incident.
Clay blames the adults.
"Come knock on our door," she said when asked what message she'd send to the man seen in the video. "Go to the school. You handled this poorly, cowardly. You put a lot of kids lives and memories in jeopardy."
Jeffery said the concerns of her grandson — and what she saw on the video — stand in sharp contrast to what she experienced as an elementary school student in her childhood.
"Times have definitely changed," she said. "When I was going to school, we wasn't worried about someone getting on the bus or our children being murdered in these schools. We were kids. We were able to live our lives happily. But now, you have kids like my grandson who was saying he doesn't want to get shot and he's scared. And you have a child in the video in the seat crying, scared for her life.
"We weren't scared as children, but, right now, these kids are scared, and I don't blame them. This is a scary world we're living in. But something has to be done, and we have to protect our kids, and I will protect my grandson."
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