WCBS 880 Exclusive: Parent Questions Decision To Call Cops On Rowdy Elementary Students

“She was Afraid She was Going to Get Arrested”

May 18, 2018 - 5:46 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- When a group of elementary school students got rowdy on a school bus in the Bronx last week, the driver pulled over, the police were called, and parents were forced to pick up their children from the scene, a parent and school officials told WCBS 880.

Falani Pigott, whose daughter is in first grade at the Bronx Charter School for Better Learning II, told WCBS 880’s Mack Rosenberg she got a call last Friday afternoon from another parent who said something had happened on the bus, and she needed to drive to the Bronx to pick up her 7-year-old daughter.

“It’s scary because you don’t really know what’s going on,” Pigott said.

According to Pigott, who had to leave work in Tarrytown, the bus driver described it as something out of a movie: the students were fighting, and the driver was hit in the head with a backpack before pulling over.

The working mother said she understands the bus driver's frustration, but her real issue was with the Office of Pupil Transportation, which decided to call the police, and she said she made that clear to the driver.

“I’m sympathetic to the fact that the kids were out of control, but I really don’t think it was appropriate to call the police on six, seven, and eight-year-olds,” she said, adding that her daughter was crying when she arrived. “She was afraid she was going to get arrested by the police.”

In a statement to WCBS 880, Department of Education spokeswoman Miranda Barbot said “We are committed to providing students with safe transportation to and from school. The appropriate protocols were followed in addressing this incident and there were no injuries.”

Parents were told it is the city’s policy to call the police if the bus driver feels he or she is in danger.

In a letter sent home to parents, the principal of the charter school requested that parents volunteer to be bus monitors. The DOE said it does not provide bus monitors on general education buses.