I-TEAM: EBR Schools investigating claims of bus driver smoking marijuana during route

Officials with the East Baton Rouge Public School System are investigating claims that a bus driver was smoking marijuana during a route.
Published: Feb. 9, 2023 at 1:33 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 9, 2023 at 6:17 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Officials with the East Baton Rouge Public School System are investigating claims that a bus driver was smoking marijuana during a route on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023.

Parents and other family members tell the WAFB I-TEAM that the driver was speeding, driving erratically, and smoking while driving the bus with students on board. One of the kids on the bus texted her older sister, alerting her to the issue.

“My sister texted me saying that the driver was high and that she was smoking,” said the sister of one of the students. “She was scared and I was scared for her.”

Crystal Ellis’s daughter was also on the bus this morning. Besides the marijuana use, she says her daughter claims the driver was speeding and driving recklessly. She tells WAFB’s Scottie Hunter that’s not what she expects from the regular driver and she believes it was a substitute driver behind the wheel.

“If a student, especially an elementary-age student, texts their parent or family member that they’re concerned for their personal safety I think we should all take pause and jump into action. I think it’s our duty and obligation as parents and adults to keep our kids protected,” said Ellis. “I prefer that they don’t drive my child again.”

The following is a statement the school system released about the alleged incident:

“It has been brought to our attention via a social media post of an alleged incident of marijuana use during a bus route to a school this morning. This allegation has not been verified and is currently under investigation. Please be assured that the health and safety of our students is our top priority.”

Other parents reached out to the WAFB I-TEAM with similar claims. We’re told several of the kids reported the situation to school officials the moment they got to the school. Ellis adds no child should go through what her daughter and the other children say they went through this morning.”Independent of the alleged marijuana smoking, if I saw a bus that was speeding and driving erratically with children on the road, I’d be concerned and I think that all adults who are responsible should be concerned as well,” said Ellis.WAFB reached out to the school system and officials say they are taking the claims seriously but they would not say whether the driver has been tested for drugs.

“I would love to hear back that we were mistaken. I think that would be easy to clear up with a drug test if it hasn’t happened already; however, if they were inebriated by any means while driving the students, I think they should be fired,” Ellis added.

According to parents, the bus driver’s route was for Shenandoah Elementary School.

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