School bus driver who stranded 20 kids, used slurs is under investigation

School district officials in Moorhead are investigating the actions of a bus driver who left 20 middle-schoolers stranded in an industrial park.

School district officials in Moorhead are investigating the actions of a bus driver who left 20 middle-schoolers stranded in an industrial park.

The students were kicked off the bus on a cold Tuesday by the bus driver, with reports since emerging that he allegedly used the "n-word" to refer to at least one student and verbally abused others on the bus.

WDAY reports the incident unfolded around 4:15 p.m. Tuesday, when the "fed up" driver told all the students to get off his bus.

One of the students, Deshanna Dotson, told the TV station the driver called her the "n-word" as she got off the bus, with the students reportedly left in an area with no sidewalks as they waited for a replacement bus.

Parents of other kids on the bus said the driver was using a wide range of foul language, with James Van Raden posting on Facebook that his daughter told him he was also flipping students off.

'Driver did the wrong thing'

Moorhead Public Schools is investigating the incident, with Superintendent Lynne Kovash saying the driver – who works for subcontractor Red River Trails – was "fed up," telling Valley News Live he was dealing with misbehaving students at the time.

"The bus driver did the wrong thing, but there were also students that were misbehaving on the bus and we want to have a safe bus ride for all the students," she said.

"Transportation on the bus is a privilege, it is not a right of a student to have transportation on a bus. So one of the things coming out of this is we need to investigate those students that were involved in this."

Debate over school bus behavior

The incident has sparked a debate in western Minnesota over how bus drivers should tackle misbehavior, though the consensus seems to be that the bus driver wildly overreacted.

While Superintendent Kovash suggested it was sparked by some misbehaving students, the AFT (American Federation of Teachers) guidelines on school bus discipline advises drivers to not "threaten the entire bus for the transgressions of the few."

Its guidelines also state drivers should "never put a student off your bus," "never lose your temper" and "never use profanity."

Writing for the Fargo Forum, local radio host Mike McFeely says that the bus driver – who has not been named – and the school district owes every parent an apology.

But, he said, the events of Tuesday raises the question of whether kids who misbehave – as well as their parents – should face some kind of penalty when a stressed driver reaches their limit.

He adds that the case could be made for the district to introduce bus monitors to ensure students are behaving and reduce the onus on drivers for keeping them in check.

But parent James Van Raden doesn't think the misbehavior from a few of students should detract from the irresponsible actions of the bus driver.

"I will not tolerate this kind of passive story to hit the news in essence making it sound like these children were misbehaving," he wrote on Facebook. "Yes, there were a couple that were less than well behaved but the driver's responsibility is to ensure these children were safe from the school to their stops."

"The driver failed to keep MY child safe and the children of other parents and instead put MY CHILD and other children in harms way," he added.

Next Up

Byron Buxton

Alex Colomé wastes Buxton's diving catch, clutch bomb

The Twins' bullpen woes continued in a loss to the A's.

Northern Metals

Firefighters battling large blaze at Northern Metal site in Minneapolis

The fire sent a plume of thick smoke into the skyline.

Screen Shot 2021-04-21 at 12.10.00 PM

Charges: St. Cloud woman maced, fatally stabbed man in alley

A 36-year-old man was pronounced dead at St. Cloud Hospital 32 minutes after the 911 call was made.


Gasthof's building in Northeast Minneapolis is for sale

The restaurant opened in 1992 and has been closed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.


1 dead in single-vehicle crash in Kandiyohi County

Deaths on Minnesota roads are up approximately 20% from the same point last year.

Irwin Jacobs home

Neighbor sues to block estate from dividing billionaire's Lake Minnetonka property

The estate of Irwin Jacobs wants to build six new homes on the late businessman's property.


In the better burger battle, does Culver's trump In-N-Out?

A website says Culver's is far superior to In-N-Out.

George Floyd mural

Darnella Frazier, who filmed the video of Floyd's arrest, reacts to guilty verdict

Frazier's video challenged the initial narrative of Floyd's arrest presented by the Minneapolis Police Department.

Burnsville police shooting

Man fatally shot by police near I-35W in Burnsville is identified

The suspect killed in the incident is from western Wisconsin.


Video shows verbally abusive encounter between Moorhead bus driver, students

The driver stops the bus and says he's quitting, before ordering the Horizon Middle School students off instead.

Bus driver advises middle school student to pick up gun on street

Robbinsdale school officials are investigating a gun found on a roadway that was handled by a seventh grade student. Around 8 a.m. Thursday, a school bus driver for the Robbinsdale School District noticed something on the side of the road and asked a middle school student to get off the bus and see what it was.

Driver of crashed school bus fell asleep, investigation finds

The State Patrol revealed the finding after an investigation into the crash.

Duluth school bus full of kids crashes through yards, driver hospitalized

A Duluth school bus driver is hospitalized in critical condition after the vehicle filled with kids plowed through yards, uprooted trees and narrowly missed two homes. None of the 27 elementary school student on board was seriously injured. Emergency responders found the driver outside the bus having difficulty breathing.

Minnesota school bus driver accused of choking 12-year-old student

Monticello School District and other officials are investigating allegations by a 12-year-old 7th grade student who says he was choked by a bus driver Tuesday afternoon. Travis Walker claims he was attacked by the driver after he answered a cell phone call from a sibling who was locked out of the house.

Charges: Man attacked bus driver over racial slur that never was

The attack was captured on video that went viral on social media.