LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Violent behavior on some Jefferson County Public Schools buses has driven some drivers to quit, and many others said they're fed up and need the district's help.
The issue is highlighted on buses at Waller-Williams Environmental School on Rockford Lane, an alternative school, as some kids are flashing the middle finger, standing up on the bus and not behaving. Five bus drivers and bus monitors sat down with WDRB News and said bad bus behavior happens every single day, and they're not getting support from the school or the district.
Bus drivers say while Waller-Williams is an alternative school, students should face consequences for bad bus behavior, and their parents need to also take some responsibility for their children.
"We have to protect ourselves," said Keonda Johnson, who has been a special needs bus monitor for a year. "Every day, we don't know what they're getting on the bus with, and every day, we're taking a chance."
Bus monitors said they've been pulled from their normal routes to help get Waller buses under control, saying at one point, there were five monitors on one bus.
"You've got to stand up," said Tristin Johnson, who's been a bus monitor for two years. "You can't even sit down on the school bus. Why? You got to be cautious. They might throw something. They might hit a window."
JCPS said it's looking at possibly reducing the number of students on a bus, providing more staff on buses and continued training for drivers. But employees said that's not enough.
"It's getting to the point where something has to be done," Tristin Johnson said. "What is it going to take? Yesterday, I got spit on."
One bus driver shared a folder of all the bus referrals she's written since school started. The folder is full, and she said it doesn't even include the 40 or so she hasn't gotten back from the district. Drivers said no matter what, the referrals, which are bus write-ups, show students are targeting drivers, monitors and each other on buses.
"Your child gets three referrals in a month, your child needs to be suspended from the bus, not school ..., off the bus for a few days," said Tawana Gurley, who's been a bus monitor for more than two years.
The group said four Waller-Williams bus drivers have left since Thanksgiving, and one bus monitor quit after just a couple of weeks.
"It's a privilege to ride the bus, and if you mess up, your privilege is over," Gurley said.
A meeting is scheduled for Thursday morning between Waller-Williams bus drivers and bus monitors. JCPS spokeswoman Renee Murphy said it's a grievance hearing, and it's closed to the public.
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