Parents upset after elementary students come home ‘drenched in sweat,’ crying

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MEBANE, N.C. -- It's not how kids normally greet their parents when they get off their school bus on Airport Road in Mebane.

"All the kids came running to us," said mother Tiyana White, describing last Wednesday. "You could literally see the sweat pouring off their heads. My kids were in serious danger that day. I mean thank God nothing happened."

"It was chaos," added mother Shannon Blathers. "Some were upset, some were crying."

The South Mebane Elementary students told their parents that the substitute bus driver turned off the air conditioning and did not allow children to open the windows.

"And it was a really hot day," White said. "Because normally I walk to the bus stop, but it was so hot I drove. My car said 95 degrees."

Alamance-Burlington School System Public Information Officer Jenny Faulkner said that some of the parents' claims were "less than accurate." She said that the school bus driver "briefly" utilized a "quiet feature" on the AC, which allows the bus driver to talk to students and be better heard.

Parents said that the amount of sweat and state of fatigue of their children makes them confident the AC was not just off for a brief time.

"You can't leave your children or animals in a hot vehicle when you run in a store," Blathers said. "I think the same rule should apply for a bus driver."

Faulkner said students' safety is a top priority. She said the parents' claims were investigated and no action will be taken against the bus driver.

One parent said she filed a police report with Mebane police and multiple parents said they complained to the school system, but were not satisfied with the response.

"They're saying, basically, it's OK for this to happen," White said. "And I don't see this as OK."

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