27 May 2015

Ministry wants school bus driver stood down

7:45 am on 27 May 2015

The Ministry of Education wants a school bus driver who refused to pull over for Auckland students travelling home on Monday to be stood down.

no caption

Photo: 123RF

The trip was described as so bad that some of the students chose to jump from the moving vehicle.

One of those on the trip to the Waitakere settlement of Huia was 17-year-old Patrick Meisel from Green Bay High School.

He said students started complaining when the driver missed a stop.

"He didn't seem too angry. He seemed mainly annoyed initially and then as people kept complaining and being quite loud about it, he became a bit more angry," he said.

"He sort of made threats like, 'I'm going to drive you to Huia, and then I'll turn around and I'll drive you all the way back to school and drop you there, where your parents can pick you up'."

He said some of the students used an emergency exit button to leave the bus.

"He slowed down enough in Huia for someone to press the emergency exit button and open the door and a couple of us jumped out.

"And then after that he continued driving and then turned around and, on the way back, he stopped in the same spot and pulled over and let people off there."

Green Bay High School principal Morag Hutchinson said yesterday that about 60 students from her school and Glen Eden Intermediate School were on the bus.

The Ministry of Education said it took the safety of students using its contracted bus services very seriously.

The ministry said all school bus drivers were police-vetted and required additional training.

It has asked the bus company, Ritchie's, to remove the driver from school bus duties and investigate the matter.

A spokesperson, Kim Shannon, said it had also asked for reports from the two schools involved.

Ms Shannon said the ministry would be meeting with the schools today.