NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Newport News school officials are investigating after elementary school students opened the back emergency door of a school bus and left mid-bus route.

Newport News Public Schools spokeswoman Michelle Price said there was an incident Friday afternoon involving a bus carrying Saunders Elementary School students.

During the afternoon bus route, the driver pulled over to speak to some students about their behavior.

While the bus was parked off Old Oyster Point Road, some students opened the back emergency door and left the bus.

The rest of the students also left the bus, Price said.

Price said the bus driver called for assistance and several transportation officials reported to the scene.

Many family members also came, she added.

Staff looked for the students — many of whom were already with their families — and made sure all students were accounted for.

“The safety of our students is our first priority; we are taking this incident very seriously. An investigation is underway,” Price wrote in an email.

Family members received phone messages informing them of the incident and ensuing investigation.