Updated: Monday, 20th January 2020 @ 2:08pm

Angry parents accuse Wigan bus driver of kidnapping school kids who drove him round bend by ringing bell

Angry parents accuse Wigan bus driver of kidnapping school kids who drove him round bend by ringing bell

| By Jon Harris

A Wigan school bus driver is facing a police investigation after he ditched his usual route home in a fit of frustration – to dump a group of rowdy pupils back in the playground.

The unnamed driver is said to have flipped after youngsters who boarded his single decker kept repeatedly ringing the bell despite warnings not to.

It is claimed he locked the doors of the vehicle and stopped in the middle of a housing estate – ten as children banged on the windows and screamed to be let off, turned round and unexpectedly headed back towards to St Johns Roman Catholic High School in Wigan, Greater Manchester.

Parents who had been waiting to pick up their children from the bus stop spotted him driving away and ran alongside the vehicle in a bid to persuade him to stop.

But the driver was reported to have refused and carried on driving out of the housing estate. Eventually he pulled up outside the school gates and ordered all the pupils off. The youngsters were unharmed but said to be 'inconsolable'.

Today, the driver of the 948 bus was questioned by his bosses at Wigan Coachways after complaints but they BACKED his behaviour – warning staff at the 900-pupil school that their students needed to behave better or the service would be axed.

A string of parents are thought to have complained to police accusing the driver of kidnap.

One parent Laura Dale said: “I appreciate someone shouldn’t have pressed the bell but the correct thing to do would be to speak to the school about misbehaviour and say it needs monitoring, not take them on a wild goose chase.

“For a man to bang on the windows of the bus saying let my children off and the driver to totally refuse is disgusting. The children I went to pick up have only been at the school a few weeks. It’s daunting for them getting a bus to school and they were absolutely terrified.”

Another mother whose 11-year old daughter was on the bus posted a message on a website saying: 'I agree that the misbehaving pupils need to be dealt with, made to walk in future, or whatever school and their parents decide is a hopefully suitable punishment.

''But I feel that what you are failing to appreciate here is that a man who was put in a position of trust to get the children home safely cannot be allowed to take matters into his own hands and effectively kidnap them for a period of over half an hour.

''As a responsible adult he should have used the appropriate channels to escalate this behaviour to school or his management.''

The incident began at around 3.30pm on Friday after a group of unruly youngsters began misbehaving – causing the driver to lock the doors and take the bus around a housing estate, with some people following the vehicle and shouting at the driver to let the children off.

In her posting, the unnamed parent said: ''A very small minority of children rang the bell repeatedly despite being asked by the driver and other students to stop, they continued.

"This is unacceptable and disrespectful but the driver then took it upon himself to lock the remaining kids on the bus and drive at speed through side streets while braking repeatedly to try and make them fall over.

''At this point, I received a hysterical phone call from my daughter in which she was screaming, telling me the driver had taken them and begging me to help her. She didn't know what street she was on by this point.

''Have you any idea what was going through my mind as a parent? Or through hers? 11 years old. Being taken along with her friends, against her will, by a man they don't know?!

''He parked up on a housing estate where the kids, all largely hysterical by this point and banging on windows and screaming to be let off. A parent got out of her car and tried to reason with him at which point he gave her verbal abuse and drove off again.

''He eventually returned to school and was met by teachers, parents in varying states of anger and distress and the students who were by this point largely inconsolable.''

Referring to her daughter, she added: ''Before I get attacked regarding discipline, I have already checked with the school as to whether she was involved and have had it confirmed that she wasn't and I would be the first to address her behaviour had she been.

''I am not one of these blinkered parents whose children can do no wrong, however, acknowledge all kids are capable of misbehaving and take a firm stance with my own when needed.

“I received a phone call from my daughter on the bus, was at school when it arrived back and have spoken at length with the teachers, bus company and the police regarding this incident.''

Wigan Coachways director Roger Jarvis said: “The behaviour of the children was appalling. The driver took them back to school and then took them home later after he had some discussion with the school with regard to behaviour.

“Unless the school gives me some assurance about improvements in behaviour, we won’t be operating the route again.”

St John Fisher where former pupils include many rugby league internationals, including Mike Gregory and Shaun Edwards, and whose Latin motto Quod Bonum Est Tenete means 'Hold Fast To What Is Good' has now promised a full investigation to determine exactly what took place on board the bus.

Headteacher Richard Ward said: “We are aware of an incident on the 948 bus after school on Friday.

“We are treating the matter seriously and are thoroughly investigation what happened with the bus company involved. The school regards the safety of our pupils as our paramount consideration and we can understand why parents have expressed their concerns.”

Story via Cavendish Press

Image courtesy of TheJamster2006 via YouTube with thanks