School bus driver allegedly assaulted by parent who got on the bus says she was ‘traumatized’

Estella Tucker, 29, was charged on Saturday by deputies with the Rowan Sheriff’s Office.
Estella Tucker, 29, was charged on Saturday by deputies with the Rowan Sheriff’s Office.(Source: Rowan County Sheriff's Office)
Published: Apr. 30, 2023 at 3:29 PM EDT|Updated: May. 1, 2023 at 11:06 AM EDT
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ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - The driver of a school bus from Corriher-Lipe Middle School says she was traumatized by a verbal and physical assault at the hands of the mother of ne of the children on the bus.

“I was totally confused and absolutely terrified, traumatized.  Extremely,” the driver said on Monday.

Charges have now been filed against a mother accused of assaulting and threatening a school bus driver in Rowan County last week.

Estella Tucker, 29, was charged on Saturday by deputies with the Rowan Sheriff’s Office. Tucker was charged with assault on a school official, communicating threats, disorderly conduct/disturbing the peace, and trespassing on a school bus.

According to the report, the driver of bus No. 219 from Corriher Lipe Middle School was taking students home on Monday afternoon. A student on the bus pointed out that the driver had missed her stop. The driver told the student that she would continue to the next stop before returning the student back to her designated stop.

The student was on the phone with her mother, who insisted the bus driver let the student out at the next stop instead. The driver allegedly told the student to tell her mother, now identified as Estella Tucker, that school policy would not allow her to drop off a student at any stop other than the one designated for that student.

“I didn’t do anything I wasn’t supposed to, I was just distracted by another student and I missed the stops, and once I knew it, I turned around and came back,” the driver said. “I don’t know why it escalated like it was the child has been on my bus, her kids have been on my bus for years.”

The report says that when the bus returned to the student’s stop at Willow Oaks Drive near Highway 153, the mother was waiting and began yelling and cursing at the bus driver. Other students were on the bus at the time.

Deputies looking at the school bus camera video reported that the mother got on the bus “in an aggressive manner,” yelling profanity at the bus driver.

The report says that the mother said “the next time you do some stupid s*** like that, I will f****** kill you, you stupid b****.” While making this statement, the mother’s finger allegedly poked the eye of the school bus driver.

Deputies say a man approached the bus and removed the mother. The yelling continued, the report says, while the woman was standing outside the bus.

A representative with the district released the following statement in response:

Rowan-Salisbury Schools holds school buses as sacred spaces where only those who belong are allowed. A school bus leaves the security of a campus and goes out among the community into public spaces. For that reason, the bus driver is the gatekeeper of safety for the students on that bus. The safety protocols in place are to protect all students and the driver while out in these public spaces. Because of this enormous responsibility, school bus drivers are only allowed to drop off students at their assigned locations regardless of parent preference, and by law, no one is allowed to trespass upon a public-school bus.

The driver said she is hoping to be able to drive a bus again, and she says the Rowan-Salisbury Schools have been helpful to her throughout this ordeal.

“I don’t know at this point.  The school system is working with me as much as they can.  They want me to get completely recuperated from this because they got my back, anything I need,” the driver said. “I just wish parents would understand we love the kids on our bus.  I mean I love all my kids. Sorry, I miss them crazy, I really do.  I wouldn’t do anything to endanger a child.”

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