GRANTS PASS, Ore. — A confused incident on a Three Rivers School District bus near Grants Pass yesterday has been causing rumors to run wild, according to the Josephine County Sheriff's Office (JCSO).
Deputies with the JCSO and AMR paramedics responded to the incident around 2:45 p.m., arriving to find a bus bound from Fruitdale Elementary parked on Frankham Drive near Cloverlawn Drive for an "unknown reason."
The bus had been unloaded, and deputies began to investigate the situation after several Fruitdale Elementary children made allegations that the bus driver had "physically abused" them.
According to JCSO patrol logs, accounts of the situation vary. When the bus pulled over at a stop, the children were allegedly screaming for help, at least one witness reported. When a parent heard the screaming, they apparently stood in front of the bus and enlisted the help of other people nearby to pry the bus doors open and offload the children.
A caller reported that the bus driver was "acting crazy" and not letting the kids off the bus.
Meanwhile, the bus driver had called into the bus barn, reporting that the children had been "out of control and screaming," causing the bus driver to pull over multiple times to get them to stop. The bus driver also reported that parents surrounded the bus and forced their way in to remove the children.
A statement from JCSO and their patrol logs agree that—after reviewing footage from the bus' security camera and conducting interviews—the bus driver's account appeared to be accurate. According to JCSO, the driver followed policy by pulling to the side of the road when the children continued to be unruly and wouldn't sit down in their seats, and there was no evidence that he physically assaulted any of the children.
According to the patrol log, when the concerned parents off-loaded the bus, one student stayed on the bus in solidarity with the bus driver.
The JCSO statement said that there was evidence of "juveniles acting inappropriately," and the Three Rivers School District is apparently conducting further investigations into that behavior.
"Inaccurate accounts of the incident flooded social media and the public is cautioned to screen social media closely," said the JCSO statement.
This is a developing story, and we will be updating it as more details emerge.