Concerned parents speak out about Harrison County bus video
The safety of a loved one is the number one concern of any parent that sends a child on a school bus. The video of what appears to be a Harrison County school bus going well above the speed limit while carrying children is stirring up controversy on Facebook. News 25’s Gina Tomlinson spoke to some concerned parents and children who say this isn’t the first incident where a bus was speeding.
A picture showing marks on six-year-old Jordan Coffman’s cheek is what the Crossroads Elementary first grader’s mother sent WXXV after seeing a video showing a Harrison County school bus passing a driver at over 70 miles per hour on Highway 49. Jordan’s mother says the marks came from a separate bus ride last year. “He was going fast and slammed on his breaks. (What happened when the bus driver slammed his breaks?) I fell and hit my cheek,” said Jordan.
Gulfport resident Brittany Lander says her five-year-old son that attends Lizana Elementary School had a similar experience. “He got off the bus and his lip was all bloody and I said ‘Tyler, what happened?’ and he said, ‘mom, the bus driver was driving really fast.’ They tell me this every day. ‘She slammed on brakes to go around the curb and I fell off my seat and I hit my lip on the back of the seat.’”
Ladner says a video was taken by her husband in September. She says in the video the school bus driver was going 60 down Cable Bridge Road where the speed limit is 35. Lander says school buses drive carelessly down Cemetery Road, where her family lives, all the time. Judy Bryant, who lives in the same area, says she’s also seen the Harrison County school buses speed by her home. “Knowing that they don’t provide seat belts in a bus, please at least make sure the kids are safe by reducing the speed.”
Bryant’s grandson, Hunter Prescott, is a sixth grader at Lizana Elementary. “Our bus driver would text, use her phone, speed,” said Hunter.
Hunter says he feels unsafe riding the bus. “They speed and text at the same time. They might hit a car. Everyone might fly out of their seat, get hurt.”
Multiple parents tell WXXV they’ve contacted the school district various times and the issue hasn’t been stopped. “I guess it’s going to take one our kids getting killed before something is actually done with these bus drivers,” said Lander.
When reached by phone today, Harrison County School Superintendent Roy Gill was asked what his reaction was to watching the video. Gill told WXXV “it is unacceptable and the driver should not be speeding.” He also said the situation has been addressed.
WXXV received a statement from Superintendent Gill. He said: “The Harrison County School District is investigating the matter. We take transporting students and their safety very seriously. If we find an issue with speeding, we will take the necessary actions to make sure it does not happen again.”