VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — On Thursday afternoon parents waited at the bus stop in Virginia Beach to pick up their kids after school. The bus was reportedly already late.
When it did arrive, parents say the bus didn’t stop but instead kept driving, with their children reportedly screaming from open windows.
Alarmed, parents ran after the bus. One woman called 911.
Virginia Beach Police confirm they were called for reports of students claiming they were kidnapped. Officers pulled the bus over and contacted the school district’s transportation department, which confirmed the bus was heading back to school.
Parents say they had no idea what was going on. 10 On Your Side spoke with Janelle Nanz, whose daughter normally rides that bus. Her daughter didn’t take the bus home yesterday. Janelle found out about the incident when her neighbor and fellow parent knocked on her door.
“I opened the door and she was hysterical. She was crying, she was upset. She said that she was trying to chase after the bus, the bus wouldn’t stop and there were children screaming out the window, ‘help us she won’t let us off.'” Nanz said.
The woman’s child was still on the bus. Parents say they were upset they didn’t know what was going on.
School officials say a substitute was driving the bus that day. They explained the driver needed assistance with the route, but officials wouldn’t say why the assistance was needed. Per policy, the driver returned to school with the students on the bus.
Once back at the school, a school administrator got on the bus and accompanied the bus driver and students for the rest of the route.
The school division said “the driver followed proper protocol ensuring the safety and security of our students, which is always the division’s top priority.”
Parents say this is the latest in a string of issues with the buses.
“No knowledge of what bus your child is riding, when they will be home, and when we do get that information it’s anywhere from 15, 20, 30 minutes to an hour, it’s even been up to an hour late,” Nanz said. “And you’re left at the bus stop wondering where your child is. “
Nanz says there’s also overcrowding on buses. Her daughter has had to sit on the floor when riding home.
“It’s a multifaceted problem and there’s systemic failures between the school system, lack of communication, it’s concerning.”