Valerie Eglen, 11, stayed home from school Tuesday after she says she got sick from sitting on an extremely hot school bus in nearly triple-digit heat in Lancaster for at least 40 minutes last Friday afternoon.
Valerie says after the school bus driver picked her and about 40 other students up from Endeavor Middle School in Lancaster, she got upset with some unruly students. She says the bus driver pulled over in the middle of her route, turned off the engine and kept the kids in their seats, threatening not to move again until the kids settled down.
"Everybody was hot and exhausted, they wanted to go home," said Valerie. "Some kid had to go to the restroom. One kid, they jumped out of the window and then he hit his head and he started to bleed."
Valerie's grandmother is outraged: "That was my granddaughter stuck on that bus being baked."
"She stops the bus and said no one is going to get off this bus, and that she is not going to drive, so she turns it off, so we wait there for about 40 minutes to an hour," said student Gary Thompson. "The temperature there, it was like 100 that day."
Morris Fuselier, CEO of the Antelope Valley Schools Transportation Authority, says his driver followed policy and pulled the bus over to deal with some unruly students.
"She was stopped approximately 20 to 25 minutes. I reported to the scene about 10 minutes in. The students were responsive. When I spoke with them, they quieted down. This was not precipitated by anything other than misbehavior of students on a bus. It was a great job by the driver of doing what she was supposed to do," said Fuselier.
Even though officials with the school bus system say students were never in danger while on the bus, some parents disagree.
"I am very upset, I am outraged as a mother, for all the children, not just mine," said parent Veeta Whitson. "My children came home sick, headaches. Those kids were fearful. Some of them were getting off the bus crying."
School bus officials say they have no plans to change how they deal with unruly students on the buses.