DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Parents of students at an Orlando-area elementary school said a bus driver and bus attendant punished misbehaving kids by making them take a hot ride home with no air-conditioning.

Parents said it happened Friday on a bus leaving Champion Elementary School in Daytona Beach.

The Volusia County school district is aware of the allegation and is actively investigating the incident, but officials said that turning the air-conditioning off as punishment is not acceptable protocol.

“These people are supposed to be around children. They should know how to handle children a little bit better than that,” said Elicia Gray, a parent of three children who attend Champion Elementary School.

WESH image
WESH image

Gray said her three children, ages 7 to 10 years old, along with classmates, endured a nasty ride home from Champion Elementary School Friday afternoon. Her children told Gray kids were acting up, misbehaving, so the bus attendant in the back told the driver to turn off the air-conditioning.

“Taking a child’s air from them, I don’t think is a great punishment. I would never put my children in a hot car and close up the windows. I’d be arrested,” Gray said.

Gray said her children told her the driver switched off the air-conditioning at the first stop and it never came back on. The windows were also closed during the bus ride, which is about 25 minutes long. Gray said her children were all sweating when they got home. One of them was in distress.

“My (child), for one, has asthma. He takes breathing treatments. Had to do one that day,” Gray said.

Gray posted about the incident on Facebook, where a number of other parents chimed in. Someone with school bus transportation services saw the posts and contacted her Monday morning. She also called the superintendent’s office.

A Volusia County schools spokesman said they confirmed by watching surveillance video from the bus that the attendant did tell the driver to turn off the air-conditioning as punishment. It is unclear whether the air-conditioning was off for the entire ride home or for just five minutes, as the attendant and driver claimed. The school district said withholding air-conditioning is never acceptable; it was 85 degrees outside.

“For you to take it upon yourself to punish somebody else’s child like that, it’s beyond me,” Gray said.WHAT OTHERS ARE CLICKING ON RIGHT NOW: