Driver backed in row over rowdy pupils

News story
News story

WIGANERS have offered their support online to a bus driver who abandoned his usual route and took misbehaving pupils back to school.

The incident on the 948 bus travelling from St John Fisher Catholic High School to Scholes and Whelley on Friday – which saw the driver turn the vehicle around after passengers repeatedly pressed the stop buttons and eventually return the pupils to the Beech Hill school – drew sharp criticism from furious parents.

Despite their anger and accusations of him driving around Springfield while refusing to let anyone off the bus, Wigan Coachways has backed his actions and described the pupils’ behaviour as appalling.

The company’s stance also appears to have fairly widespread support, with a majority of Wiganers commenting on the Wigan Today website and social media giving their backing to the driver.

Deb Burrows wrote on Facebook: “Well done to this driver. The parents should be ashamed of their children’s behaviour. They should be spending the time disciplining them instead of complaining!”

Nikki Lee Ashcroft said on Facebook: “I have to get a bus home from my children’s school and there are always high school kids on shouting and swearing. Kids need to learn a bit of respect.”

St John Fisher has promised a full investigation.

But one mum whose daughter was on the bus has angrily criticised the way the situation was handled.

Whelley parent Nicola Fleming said she followed the bus in her car from Whelley back to Beech Hill before the driver detoured around a housing estate.

She says he also refused to speak to her several times when she asked him what was happening.

She said the heavy-handed actions had punished children who had done nothing wrong and terrified the pupils, who were screaming to be allowed off the bus.

Nicola said: “I am not condoning the behaviour at all but there were children who probably sat there and didn’t do anything wrong.

“Some parents also got frantic phone calls when they were in work and didn’t know what was going on.

“I just think he dealt with it the wrong way. He should have kicked the troublemakers off and let the other children off at their stops and then complained to the school.

“What gives him the right to just drive children around the streets?”