JCPS buses at Waller-Williams Environmental School

Buses waiting to take students home from school. 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Bus drivers with Jefferson County Public Schools said students are becoming violent, threatening and even spitting on them as they trying to drive them to and from school.

And they said they can't take it anymore.

The issue is highlighted as buses leave Waller-Williams Environmental School on Rockford Lane, as some kids are flashing the middle finger, standing up on the bus and not behaving. John Stovall, president of Teamsters Local 783 that represents bus drivers," said Waller-Williams is "probably at the top" of the list when it comes to bad student behavior. 

"Waller is traditionally a special needs school with behavior problems, but lately, the last two years were really out of control, and it's amped up this year," said Stovall who has a sign on his desk that reads, "Help Stop School Bus Violence."

JCPS said the school is for students with disabilities and provides intensive behavioral and therapeutic supports. But bus drivers are reporting problems so bad that Stovall met with about half of the bus drivers from the school. Fifteen drivers are upset about how they're being treated.

"A lot of them have been hit and punched," he said.

He said those drivers see, "unruly and out of control students, anywhere from fighting, cussing, threatening hitting, throwing stuff out of the bus windows." 

Stovall said there needs to be a discipline code for bus behavior and consequences.

"I think they need to have monitors on those buses," he said. "Some of them do, some of them don't."

He said there needs to be at least one, if not two adults on the bus besides the bus driver.

JCPS spokeswoman Renee Murphy said there have been challenges getting drivers for Waller-Williams.

"Some of the steps we are looking to possibly take include reducing the number of students on a bus, providing more staff on buses and continued training for bus drivers," Murphy said. "We are looking at implementing new measures as quickly as possible."

Stovall said the bus drivers are now putting together their statements to give to the Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio. Stovall met with Pollio and said the superintendent has given his word to resolve the bus issues.

"They say they love driving the bus, and they love helping kids," Stovall said. "They can't take constant threats and harassment and one got spit in the face last week."

He said some bus drivers have already put in their two-week notice. Others have asked to be transferred to bus routes that don't involve that school.

Stovall said it's unsafe for the community as bus drivers sometimes have to take their eyes off the road to watch their backs.

"We're talking about violent, out-of-control behavior that makes it unsafe for bus driver and for students on that bus as well," he said. 

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