ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. -- Some St. Lucie County parents say they do not feel safe with their kids riding the school bus, after two substitute bus drivers have been removed from their routes in a week.
Students on two buses have snapped cell phone pictures that they say show their bus drivers acting dangerously, sparking investigations by the school district.
Both pictures were taken by Lincoln Park Academy students on the same bus route, according to parents.
In one picture taken over a week ago, a substitute bus driver is seen holding a cell phone behind the wheel. Students say she was texting.
More recently, another student took a picture that shows students sitting on the floor of an overcrowded, moving bus.
Mother Jennifer Conway says her son took one of the pictures when he was worried about his safety.
"It's absolutely inexcusable to continue to do this and to continue to put children's lives at risk."
After the first picture emerged of a bus driver texting, Conway hoped drivers would be more cautious.
A second picture leaves her infuriated.
"Pictures don't lie you know? We're getting no where. It's getting worse."
Conway says both of the drivers were filling in for her son's permanent bus driver, but says that driver has been on leave.
Now, she questions allowing her son to get back on the bus with another substitute driver.
"I can't replace him. I don't want to hear the school board tell me I'm sorry. I'm sorry doesn't cut it for me. It doesn't replace my child. You can't bring my child back."
The St. Lucie County School District released the following statement explaining the picture of the students on the floor of the bus:
St. Lucie Public Schools Transportation officials were alerted to a situation involving seating capacity on a bus. Immediately, the District began an investigation, directed the driver to stop the bus, and sent a second bus to transport students.
The driver has been relieved of driving duties, and the matter is under investigation.
"Nothing is more important that the safety of our students, and breaches in safety protocols will not be tolerated," said Superintendent E. Wayne Gent.
Conway thinks stricter punishments need to be enforced to keep this from happening again.
"I think we have to charge them criminally… It's not enough to fire them, it's not enough to take away their income or their livelihood."
Conway says the district is putting a new permanent driver on her son's route instead of another substitute.
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