Oklahoma Bus Driver Faces Kidnapping and Child Abuse Charges After Controversial Incident
Oklahoma City, OK – A 68-year-old Oklahoma bus driver, Thomas Young, has found himself at the center of controversy after an incident on October 13 led to his termination, charges of child abuse, and kidnapping. Young, who had been employed by Broken Arrow Public Schools for approximately a year, was fired following the incident that occurred on his new bus route.
In a 13-minute surveillance video provided by the school district, Young can be seen trying to manage a group of middle school students who were creating a raucous on the bus. He repeatedly demanded that they quiet down, stating, “I’m not moving until I don’t hear any speaking.” Young even parked the bus on East 61st Street and Lynn Lane, telling the students, “Fine, I’ll pull over. I don’t care.”
As the situation escalated, the students can be heard screaming and crying for help, with some attempting to exit the bus. Young extended his arm to prevent a child from leaving, despite the presence of some of the students’ alleged legal guardians outside the bus. Parents on the scene shouted, asked for Young’s name (which he refused to provide), and threatened to have him fired.
Despite pleas from students to be allowed off the bus to join their parents, Young insisted, “No. Sit down. I don’t care if your mom’s there. It makes no difference to me. You’re not going with your mom.” He continued, “I run my bus a certain way. I don’t care what the other bus drivers do – you obey me.”
The situation took a dangerous turn when children reportedly began jumping out of an emergency exit while Young was driving, resulting in the child abuse charge. The bus was moving at a speed ranging from 3 to 10 miles per hour when Young drove into a parking lot.
Once the bus came to a halt, Young unfastened his seat belt and stood up to address the remaining students onboard. He asserted, “You can see that I don’t care what parents do. If they smack the bus, I don’t care. I don’t care if they get violent and break the window. It makes no difference to me.”
Broken Arrow schools spokesperson Tara Thompson expressed grave concern for the children’s safety, stating that Young “put kids in danger,” and the district “cannot have that.” Young was subsequently arrested and is currently incarcerated at Tulsa County Jail with bail set at $60,000.
It remains uncertain whether Young’s charges will hold amid the “chaotic situation happening on that bus,” as mentioned by Oklahoma criminal defense attorney Tommy Adler. Adler suggests that just because a child demanded to get off a moving bus on a public roadway doesn’t necessarily mean that the driver has to let the child off immediately.
This incident has raised important questions about the boundaries of a bus driver’s authority and the safety of students in their care. The legal proceedings and investigations will determine the outcome of the charges against Thomas Young.