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Police: Parent boards Buncombe County school bus, makes threats

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School officials say an incident took place on Bus 69 Wednesday night in which a parent boarded a bus without permission. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Charges may be filed after a parent got on Buncombe County Schools bus 69 and threatened the people on board Wednesday evening, according to an incident report and a spokeswoman for the Asheville Police Department.

Students from Koontz Intermediate and Valley Springs Middle were on board.

APD spokeswoman Christina Hallingse said two students on the bus got into a fight. One student got off and a parent climbed on board.

In an email, Stacia Harris, a spokeswoman for Buncombe County Schools, said, by boarding a bus without permission, a state statute was violated. She included the statute in her email.

According to the statute, the bus driver “shall have complete authority over and responsibility for the operation of the bus and the maintaining of good order and conduct upon such bus.” Further, any person boarding the bus after being told not to by the driver is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor according to G.S. 14-132.2.

"In both of these instances, our bus driver responded appropriately and per our school policies and procedures," said Harris.

Harris also said there is signage on all of the buses that say “No Trespassing,” which is why law enforcement was notified, though BCS does not determine what, if any, charges will get filed.

One mother with two kids on the bus who didn’t want to be identified said she received a call from a friend regarding the incident.

“I got a call from a friend stating that there had been a fight on the bus and an adult had entered the bus with a gun,” she said. “We dropped everything, got in the car and headed for where we thought the bus was.”

Harris said those who watched the video did not see a gun.

The principal of Koontz Intermediate sent a message addressed to parents a few hours after the incident saying in part, “We wanted you to know that law enforcement will be handling this incident and in an effort to make our students feel safe on the bus tomorrow morning, our assistant principal, Mr. Cowan, will be riding the bus.”

A school resource officer also followed the bus.

That was enough to make the mother let her kids ride the bus, but she has concerns about what happens next.

“Is this what we're going to do every day? You know, what are we going to do to protect our kids? Seriously, what are we going to do to protect our kids?"

“We strive to ensure that our staff members and students feel safe on our buses and in our school buildings. We are willing to work with parents on a case by case basis to take the necessary steps to ensure their children feel safe,” said Harris.

She also said the two students involved in the fight had been disciplined.

As for the parent who climbed on board, Hallingse, said a detective has reviewed the video and will meet with an assistant district attorney Friday to determine if charges will get filed.

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