MEDFORD, Ore. — “With everything that goes on in the world today, there are just too many bad possibilities that can happen from there,” said Breah Castro, parent of a child at Griffin Creek Elementary in Medford.
Castro’s 12-year-old daughter goes to Medford’s Griffin Creek Elementary, but she doesn’t let her ride the school bus for many reasons.
“Kidnapping… trying to cross the street at a busy intersection and getting hit,” she said.
And after hearing about what happened to some Griffin Creek kids on Thursday afternoon, she says it’s for good reason.
“Kids were complaining about the heat, [the] driver lost his patience, let the kids off the bus, that’s the story that we’re getting,” said Chief Operations Officer of the Medford School District, Brad Earl.
He says in his nine years working for the school district, he’s never heard anything like it.
“[The driver] said that he had been frustrated, kids were throwing objects out the window,” Earl said.
He says a bus driver got about a mile away from the school when he kicked the roughly 25 kids off at an unscheduled stop.
“I think he just kind of lost it. It’s the end of the school year and there’s a high frustration,” said Earl. “Again, not excusable, but that’s our understanding of what happened.”
And parents agree.
“Anybody could have stopped by and encouraged a kid, ‘I’ll give you a ride,’ you know, those types of stories,” said Phil Archibald, parent.
“If they’re getting dropped off on the street, how am I supposed to know if they’re safe if anybody random is going to come by and pick them up,” said David Sanders, another parent.
While everyone made it home safe, parents, the principal, and the school district all say it was unacceptable.
“Our children are the future of the world… we just need to protect them,” said Castro.
The school district contracts its bus services to “First Student,” a national company with several local offices; the district tells NBC5 News that it has asked for the bus driver to be removed from his position.
We reached out to “First Student’s” national media line for comment and have yet to hear back.
Amanda Rose is a multimedia journalist for NBC5 News. Amanda graduated from Columbia University earning a Master’s degree in Journalism. She also received a Bachelor’s degree in English with a specialization in literature from the University of British Columbia.
She’s a Los Angeles native, but is thrilled to return to the beautiful Pacific Northwest and is passionate about reporting on the criminal justice system.