By Shereen Siewert
Parents in the Tomahawk School District are demanding answers after a bus driver allegedly locked students in a bus and refused to bring them home, prompting a police response.
Wausau Pilot & Review was contacted by multiple readers about the situation, which allegedly happened Wednesday on the way home from school.
Witnesses say the bus driver, whose name was not released, was unable to handle the behavior of the children she was transporting. She allegedly “cranked up” the radio to a high volume, called the children names and drove the bus at a high rate of speed into a bus barn, where she locked the doors and fled in her vehicle. School officials have not confirmed the details of those reports.
One witness said police were called to pry the doors open to get into the bus, and a separate driver took the children home. Some parents said their children were frightened and traumatized.
Students on the bus typically range from kindergartners through high school seniors with a mix of ages represented. The exact ages of the students on board is not clear.
In an email to Wausau Pilot & Review, Tomahawk Superintendent Wendell Quesinberry forwarded communication sent to all parents in the district that expressed sympathy with the concerns voiced by many families on the afternoon of Jan. 18. In the email, Quesinberry said district officials are actively working with the Tomahawk Bus Company to gather details leading up to the incident. The driver involved will no longer be transporting students in the district.
No arrests have been made and the driver has not been ticketed, Quesinberry said.
“Safely transporting our students to and from school is no menial task,” Quesinberry said. “We value our partnership with the Tomahawk Bus Company and hope this incident doesn’t tarnish the dedication shown by all of the other bus drivers.”
Attempts to reach Tomahawk Bus Service were not immediately successful on Thursday.