The initial investigation revealed that the 60-year-old male bus driver, who is a substitute driver and unfamiliar with the bus route, missed a stop for a student. Sgt. Tyler Chandler, community policing director for MJPD, said this caused a number of children on the bus to become belligerent, loud and unruly.
In an attempt to calm to children, the bus driver pulled over in a safe location on West Division Street hoping they would stop screaming.
A parent of a student arrived where the bus was parked, and a 14-year-old male student attempted to exit the bus. While trying to exit, there was an altercation between the student and driver, Chandler said.
The student eventually exited, but he tried to reenter to retrieve a backpack. During reentry, it was alleged that the student had his forearm shut in the bus door. This caused the parent and bus driver to argue.
During the commotion, Chandler said an unknown person mentioned that the bus driver was armed. That allegation frightened the other students, and they began to flee from the bus to a nearby field. The parent called 911 once there was a mention of a gun. Then, officers quickly arrived on the scene to secure the children and clear the area for a possible armed person.
After the incident, it was determined that all students were safe. Chandler said the Wilson County Schools officials were very responsive and members of the police department maintained constant communication with their leadership throughout the entire situation.
Another bus with a different driver arrived on the scene to transport the students to their destinations. The bus route was #1107 with students from Mt. Juliet Middle School. There were 49 students onboard the bus during the incident. Most of the students reside in the Hickory Hills subdivision.
The school system should be applauded for their quick response to ensure a successful outcome. Parents who arrived on the scene were also very cooperative, and the Mt. Juliet Police Department appreciates their understanding of this incident, Chandler noted.
He added that investigators have reviewed the surveillance camera video from the bus, and determined that the bus driver did not do anything unlawful.
The investigation continues into possible unruly charges for certain students onboard on the bus. It appears that this situation was extremely blown out of proportion by a few students, which caused the other students to become frightened, Chandler added.