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On October 13, Thomas Young, a 68-year-old Broken Arrow Public Schools bus driver was arrested on charges of kidnapping, after trapping students on the bus.
Young switched from his original route to a new direction, resulting in him being late to pick up other children. According to the district, the new route caused Young to become frustrated in real-time.
Consequently, the bus camera footage recorded the chaos that unfolded, as Young began arguing with the children.
In the footage, Young says “Be quiet” and “I can pull over. Fine, I’ll pull over, I don’t care.”
As the arguments continued, Young became more enraged, preventing some of the children from getting picked up by their parents.
Trapping the students on the bus, they became upset with Young, one saying, “Let us off!”
Young was persistent in keeping the students on the bus, unbothered by their legal guardians waiting for them outside.
He adamantly stated, “Sit down. Sit down. I don’t care. I don’t care if your mom’s there. It makes no difference to me you’re not going with your mom.”
Parents began screaming at a defiant Young, asking for his name and threatening to get him fired, nevertheless, he prevented students from leaving the bus.
After the incident caught the attention of the school district, Tara Thompson, a spokesperson, issued a statement regarding guidelines specifically to ensure students behave on the bus. However, Friday’s incident escalated beyond normalcy.
Thompson stated, “There are some procedures and protocols in place to get the drivers the help that they need and I think just with the chaos of the events that were unfolding those steps really weren’t followed the way that we expect them to be followed.”
Broken Arrow Police did not release the number of children affected or their ages
Broken Arrow Police Department, Captain Josh McCoy, told individuals that Young’s decision to disallow the students to exit the bus with their legal guardians is the impetus for the kidnapping charge. The charge also stems from the district’s policies, including parental admittance to their students.
In addition to kidnapping charges, Young was also booked on child endangerment. He continued to drive the bus, while some students jumped out the emergency exit.
Although Young was charged with child endangerment, the legal consequences can vary.
Tommy Adler, Oklahoma Criminal Defense Attorney states, “There’s clearly a chaotic situation happening on that bus… You can see him trying to reestablish control and reestablish order on that bus. I mean, just because some kid demands to get off a moving bus on a public roadway doesn’t mean that driver has to let that child off immediately.”
Because of the felony charges, Young’s employment with Broken Arrow Public School was terminated.
The ongoing investigation will unearth more information, but as of now Young is being held on a $60,000 bond in the Tulsa County Jail.