Company reacts to alleged school bus sex assaults; school remains silent

Company reacts to alleged school bus sex assaults; school remains silent

From the outside, it was apparently business as usual at Estelle Elementary School on the west bank of Jefferson Parish, but inside, counselors were to be on hand for students after troubling allegations.

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office confirmed Friday that it was investigating allegations by two girls under age 10 about inappropriate sexual relations involving a 13-year-old boy on a school bus.

A grandmother, who we are not identifying to protect her granddaughter's identity, took to social media to make the alleged incidents public, and later consented to an interview with FOX 8 News.

"Frustration, yes, she's 5 years old," the woman said. "She's never seen a man's body parts. Now my daughter's gotta explain to her all that. That's crazy - they're supposed to be enjoying life, playing with dolls."

She said the boy behaved inappropriately with both her granddaughter and her niece.

"Made them do things to his, you know, that they should not have did, and my thing to that is, where is the bus driver?" she said.

The Jefferson Parish school district said Thursday that it took quick action in reporting the allegations to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office, and that the driver had been removed from the route and will no longer drive for the school system.

The school system said the alleged incidents occurred on a "First Student" bus. Jessica Biddinger, a spokeswoman for the bus company, issued a statement in response to our requests from comment.

"There is nothing more important than the safety and well-being of the students we transport. We are fully assisting authorities with their investigation and are also conducting our own thorough internal review of the matter. In accordance with company procedure, the driver has been removed from service pending the outcome of investigation."

"I feel like the bus driver should have been paying more attention, and if she couldn't handle the students, you know, put somebody else on the bus that could help handle them," the grandmother said.

The school system denied repeated requests for information on whether a monitor was on the bus, or even what the school district's policy is regarding monitors and bus driver responsibilities. They also would not say if the male student remains at the school or if he still rides the bus.

"He's in seventh grade, you know, why is he riding the bus with little children? That's what I want to know," the grandmother said.

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