TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — An altercation at a bus stop led to early morning chaos for students and parents in Tampa. The district said bad behavior by parents was to blame, but parents are blaming the bus driver.
Parents of students at Tampa Bay Boulevard Elementary School contacted 8 On Your Side after witnessing a confrontation between a father and a bus driver at a stop off North Oregon Avenue and West Main Street before their children were dropped off at school.
“He [the father] got on the bus because his daughters wouldn’t sit down,” one parent, Lakeisha Brown, recalled. “He told his kids to sit down the bus driver started telling him ‘Hey, you can’t be on the bus it’s trespassing.'”
Brown said the driver and the parent started arguing. A video shows the bus driver close the doors and drive off for a moment, then stop. Parents started yelling and running toward the bus, trying to get their kids off it.
“The kids were banging on the windows. I was banging on the door, other parents were as well, finally the back comes open one of the kids open the emergency exit,” said Brown.
Tampa police said a number of kids went out the emergency exit, as instructed by adults. No one was hurt during the incident.
According to Brown, one parent, Paige Jones, tried to get onto the bus through the exit door as it was moving.
“I was actually trying to get onto the bus because he refused to let our kids off of the bus,” Jones said.
The district said Jones was trespassing. Once the kids are on the bus, they’re required to stay there until they get to school.
Police identified the bus driver as Alpheria Wright. According to police, Wright would not let a student back onto the bus to find his phone once they got to the school. Wright reportedly closed the bus doors and did not comply with an officer at the school. Wright was then arrested.
Tampa police are still working to identify the man who entered the bus at the stop.