A Paulding County mother said a viral video of children climbing out of windows of a metro Atlanta school bus at a busy intersection all started over backpack tags.
Video of the scary incident went viral earlier this week after a fight broke out between parents with children at Allgood Elementary and a bus driver.
Channel 2′s Audrey Washington spoke to parent Samantha Lee on Friday, who recorded video of the initial fight that broke out in front of the children. After parents argue with the driver, who we are not identifying, a parent is caught on video slapping the driver before she pulls away.
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Lee said it all started when the substitute bus driver refused to let certain students off the bus without their proper backpack identification tags.
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Lee said that seconds later, three parents stepped onto the bus to get their children. Then, according to Lee, the bus driver hit one of the parents.
“She takes her left hand and she assaults the parent right here on her neck,” Lee said.
Lee said she jumped out of the way so her phone didn’t capture the entire interaction, but when you freeze the video, you can see what appears to be the bus driver’s hand on a parent’s shoulder. Next, you see that parent slap the bus driver.
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“I think in the moment it was like, ‘Smack! Smack,’” Lee said.
The video then showed the driver close the doors and drive away with the children onboard screaming and hanging out of the windows.
“She closes the doors and it was kind of like, ‘Okay, I can’t tame you guys, so I’ll take your kids now,’” Lee said. “And she had a smirk on her face and drove away with our kids.”
Eventually, the parents called police.
“I keep replaying, seeing my daughter hanging out the window and screaming at the top of her lungs, and I couldn’t do anything to prevent that, you know?” Lee said. “The whole thing has been very emotional for me.”
Officers helped students get off the bus and to their parents safely.
In a statement, the Paulding County School District wrote, in part:
“The school district is investigating the issue as a personnel matter, and the driver has been suspended pending an internal investigation.”
Police said charges in the case could be forthcoming.
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