YORK COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) — A Yorktown Middle School parent alleges that her child’s school bus ride home Wednesday turned chaotic, when a white bus driver, not the usual driver for route 321, allegedly attempted to segregate students based on race.
“I received a phone call from my daughter stating that the bus driver would not let the Black kids sit in the back of the bus. She had blocked the midsection so that they could not. Students had to go around her to sit down. She did walk off the school bus to go get admin. Then they got on the bus to calm the students down,” said Jakieya Toliver, who is the parent of a sixth-grader at the school.
Toliver says became an earwitness to the chaos when her daughter called her.
“You heard a lot of commotion going on in the background. I did hear kids being told shut up. I’m not sure if that was from the bus driver or the assistance principal trying to calm the students down. It was very rowdy. I can tell you that. Black kids had to get picked up, but the white kids got to go home on the school bus,” said Toliver, who is a native of York Country.
Toliver picked up her daughter and demanded answers. She says the only response she received was: ‘The matter is under investigation.’
“That’s when I told her fine, that I would reach out to WAVY-TV 10 and maybe they [WAVY-TV] can give me some answers,” said Toliver.
On Thursday, 10 On Your Side got some answers about the investigation and surveillance video. Katherine Goff, a spokesperson for the York County School Division, told 10 On Your Side a comprehensive investigation into the bus incident is underway.
Goff said: “The York County School Division does not condone or tolerate racism or any form of discrimination in our programs, activities, and employment.
“The division is following policy that governs reports of discrimination to investigate this allegation. We are in the initial stages of our investigation into this allegation and have received conflicting information regarding what may have transpired. Should there be evidence supporting this claim, the division will take action in accordance with policy, which can include disciplinary measures up to and including termination.”
The spokesperson added that some buses in the country are equipped with cameras, as video surveillance is being phased in, but the bus in question does not have a camera. Goff said the investigation will rely on accounts from witnesses.
The mother is helping her daughter process what happened.
“You know, explaining to my daughter that racism is still out here. Now she has seen it for herself firsthand, yesterday,” said Toliver.