Superintendent claims MPS hasn't lost control after bus bullying investigation

Superintendent claims MPS hasn't lost control after bus bullying investigation

By Rob Koebel. CREATED Jun 9, 2011

MILWAUKEE - The I-Team has been flooded with calls and emails after our cameras show beating and bullying on a Milwaukee school bus.  We followed the bus after a mother tells us her little four-year-old is tormented on bus 83 every day. 

Punching, moving around, tossing a shoe back and forth.  That’s what our undercover camera captured on two different days as we follow bus 83 to check out a mother's heartbreaking complaints.  She calls the I-Team saying her 4 year old is being hurt on her school bus and it has been happening day after day.
Ms. Edwards says, “Nothing has been done. I’ve called the school board and the principal.”

In our first story, we ask MPS about her complaints and they send only an email saying all is quiet on the bus, adding there have been no reports of trouble from the driver. 

After our story airs with the chaotic video, Superintendent Gregory Thornton agrees to an interview.
Rob: "Can you re-assure the parents out there the children will be safe?"
Superintendent: "I can reassure the parents we will take every precaution to ensure the children get a safe ride to and from school."

The girl's mother says no precautions were taken on bus 83 even after she complained.

The superintendent now blames the bus driver. 

"I am disappointed that my bus driver didn't report it to me," said Thornton.

But the girls mom, Ms. Edwards, says she reported it time and time again.

When this video airs, our viewers call the scenes appalling, disgusting, and dangerous to everyone on the roads.  

Many tell us this isn't the only bus, that there are many out of control all over town, but the superintendent tells me it's simply a bus 83 issue.
Rob: "Have you lost the control of the children?"
Superintendent: "Have I lost control of the children?"
Rob: "In a general sense…"
Superintendent: "By no mean’s, predicated by what?"
Rob: "On what we saw on that bus, has the district lost control?   Do you know what’s going on in these buses?"
Superintendent: "40 kids and you have 80,000. I don't think that will get you in a place that you have lost control of 83,000 students. I don't know how you got that assessment."
Rob: "Well  -- is that the only bus that there is an issue on?"
Superintendent: "That is the only bus that has been reported to me with respect to a bullying incident."
Rob: "I got e-mails from parents and stuff that say it's been going on for a long time."
Superintendent: "Well it hasn't been reported.  When it's reported we take it very very serious."
Thornton says that the driver of bus 83 is now in trouble.  He has been suspended for 2 days.
Superintendent: "He will not drive that bus again" 
Rob: "Any bus at MPS?" 
Superintendent: "Not any bus at MPS." 
Rob: "He is done?"
Superintendent: "With us, but they are a private company they drive for a number of other agencies".

A new driver for bus 83 but from what we heard today this bus is just the beginning.

So the superintendent says you aren't reporting all the school bus chaos out there.  Let us know if you have a problem and can’t get help.