MARRERO, La. (WGNO) – A concerned grandmother took to Facebook Thursday describing very disturbing and sexually explicit acts that she says happened on a Jefferson Parish public school bus. She is also urging parents to talk to their kids in case there are more victims.
"I'm hurt. Because you put your child on that school bus and that school bus driver is supposed to be responsible for that child," the grandmother of one of the alleged victims told WGNO.
The Westwego grandmother says she fears her five-year-old granddaughter, who is a kindergarten student at Estelle Elementary, may be damaged for life after being sexually assaulted by a seventh grader on the bus.
"My daughter gets a knock at the door, it's a young lady with a son and she tells my daughter, 'I need to tell you something. My son told me he was fooled with on the bus,'" the grandmother said.
She says the young boy identified her granddaughter as another alleged assault victim.
“He was dragging them by the hair down the middle aisle of the bus,” the grandmother recounted what she was told. “I just want it to stop.”
The story spread when the grandmother took her anger to Facebook, posting a video warning in hopes of getting the message to other families who might have children on that bus.
"I went on Facebook and put it out and I don't care if nobody likes me or not because there are other kids on that bus!” she said.
At 10 p.m. Thursday, the video the grandmother posted had nearly 200,000 views and more than 10,000 shares.
She believes up to ten children may have been victims, both boys and girls.
"I think he picked on the weak ones. But my thought is: There were other 7th graders on there, why couldn't somebody stop him?" she said.
The grandmother says that her daughter checked her granddaughter out of school early Thursday and was later called back to meet with detectives, school authorities and the bus driver.
"My daughter said the principal told the bus driver, 'I take care of a thousand kids a day -- you can't watch 40 children on your bus?' and that's when she left," she said.
The grandmother says detectives told her daughter to take the five-year-old to Children’s Hospital, so she could be checked out by doctors.
The Jefferson Parish Public School System issued a statement, saying that as a result of this reported incident, counselors will be at the school Friday. It also said that the driver of the bus in question "...will no longer drive for the Jefferson Parish Public School System."
Read the full statement below:
We were made aware today of a reported incident that occurred on a First Student bus involving Estelle students.
We took quick and decisive action including reporting the reported incident to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office. The investigation is now with the Sheriff’s Office and district officials are cooperating fully. The bus driver in this reported incident has been removed from the route and will no longer drive for the Jefferson Parish Public School System.
The safety and well being of our children is of utmost importance. As a result of this reported incident, a team of counselors will be at the school tomorrow to meet with students if needed.
Colonel John N. Fortunato with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office said, "this matter was brought to our attention today and we are now conducting an investigation into the allegations."