Driver suspended after students ride to school on filthy bus

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- Parents contacted Fox 2 outraged that their kids were riding to Shenandoah School in South St. Louis on a filthy school bus. 

The bus driver invited parents on board at the Tennessee & Miami stop Monday morning to show them the conditions, parents said. 

Those parents took photos and a video with the cell phones. 

The driver said her regular bus broke down a couple of weeks ago and the replacement was trashed every morning she came to work, parents said. 

“She said she wouldn’t even let her own kids ride this bus.  And our kids have been riding this bus for the past 2 weeks every day, full of trash,” said mother, Shamika Ellis.  “I’m talking about food, hair, papers, candy.  I didn’t know if a rat was coming out of it.  It was hideous.  There’s germs.  It could be contaminated.  That is ridiculous for someone’s sons to be riding, daughters.  Anything.”

Her Pre-K  5-year-old son R.J. and two school mates told Fox 2 they didn’t know the source of the trash but said it was there when they ride to school and when they come home.

It was so bad, second grader Devon Young was worried about trashing his new shoes by just walking to his seat. 

“I had to put my feet up top of the seat,” Young said.    

“I don’t want to put my feet on the floor with all that trash.  I put my feet up on the seat because I don’t want my shoes dirty and germs,” said R.J. 

The kids came home on a different bus with a different driver Wednesday. 

A spokesman for the St. Louis Public Schools said there had been no complaints beyond the photo forwarded by Fox 2. 

Still, he said that photo was enough. 

The district issued a statement which said, in part: 

 “The district echoes the parent:  the conditions … are unacceptable … (the district) has contacted its transportation provider to express its outrage...We expect the best for our students and will accept nothing less."

A spokesman for First Student transportation, the Cincinnati company contracted for bus services for St. Louis Public Schools, confirmed school buses can be “chartered” for other jobs after school.  There was no word on if that happened in the case.  He also said student safety is priority one and clean buses were a big part of that.  He said it the driver’s responsibility to keep the bus clean and that the driver had been removed from service pending the outcome of an internal investigation. 

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