Bus driver fired after incident that terrified students

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COLLINSVILLE, IL (KTVI) - Dozens of parents were up in arms after an incident that left their kids stranded on a school bus with an angry driver.

Just before 5 o’clock yesterday, parents were wondering why their children still weren’t home from Dorris Intermediate School in Collinsville. But those questions were answered when a mother got a frantic call from her fifth grader. According to the kids, their bus driver got mad because they were being too noisy. He pulled into the Camelot Bowl parking lot, sat for nearly an hour and refused to take the kids home.

Fifth grader Kayla Lankford explains, “He said, if you don’t want to be stuck on here for a while, then you guys better call your moms.”

Some parents showed up to get their kids. Kayla’s mom, Jennifer Lankford, called police, who forced the driver to take the rest of the children home.  Lankford says, “What made me even more mad was that he didn’t ask for any ID to pick up my daughter, he didn`t ask me for a last name or even who I was.  She just got off the bus and came to me.”

“You know I thought he was very careless. My son is precious cargo,” adds parent Toi Hansome.  Upset parents contacted school officials, who then told their bus company, First Student, that they no longer wanted this driver working in their school district.  First Student took it a step further. Company spokesperson Jen Biddinger states, "We take incidents like this one very seriously. The driver involved is no longer employed by First Student."

Students and parents say the bus driver, who the kids call “Cowboy,” has had previous issues with erratic driving and cursing in front of the students.


  • Ann

    John, what are you saying??!?! Cowboy exhibited totally unacceptable behavior for a bus driver. If those kids are acting inappropriately then he should have notified the school or quit his job, you don’t endanger children because you are angry!!!!

  • LLH

    I would not want to be a bus driver. Kids have no discipline these days. When I was a kid and we got too rowdy, the bus driver pulled over. The rowdy kids were told to stop or get off and walk home. When we got home, my mom asked what took so long and we told her and she said, “Good for her. You kids better behave on that bus or you can walk the three miles to school!” Of course that was the 80’s when kids were expected to respect their elders and if they didn’t, well parents stood by the adult who were in charge of their kids. Now? Adults who are in charge of tons of kids have NO way to discipline. A lot of parents get offended if a teacher even tells a kid that they are being very rude. So, maybe the bus driver didn’t deal with this incident the best he could, but I’m sorry parents should expect their children to behave. Again, I wouldn’t want to be a bus driver, or a teacher. Maybe parents will need to opt out of busing their kids and drive them themselves. Then they can deal with the kicking, screaming, throwing of food etc that the drivers have to.

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