Goonellabah residents Geoff Hallmann and Tracie Callaghan believe that the bus needs security guard.
Goonellabah residents Geoff Hallmann and Tracie Callaghan believe that the bus needs security guard. Jacklyn Wagner

School pupils create battle on bus

SCHOOLBUS 58 is so out of control, parents are demanding a security guard be employed to ride on it in order to stop the chaos.

The bus, departing from Lismore each weekday afternoon at 3.30pm, is the scene of bullying and violence, according to Tracie Callaghan, of Goonellabah.

“She had cream cheese rubbed through her hair,” Miss Callaghan said about her nine-year-old daughter, who was forced to change schools to avoid riding on bus 58.

On another occasion, her daughter was slapped across the face after a group of girls ganged up on her while on the bus.

Northern Rivers Buslines, operators of the service, suspended the girl behind the assault from the bus, Ms Callaghan said.

Ms Callaghan’s 10-year-old son has been suspended from riding on the bus on three occasions, most recently due to use of bad language.

However, Ms Callaghan claims her son was only retaliating after being hit and punched by other children on the bus.

The bus carries students from a range of local schools to Goonellabah each afternoon.

Geoff Hallmann’s seven-year-old son has also been bullied on the bus. But the boy has also bullied other children and was suspended from riding on the bus in September.

The bus company wrote to Mr Hallman about his son’s behaviour on six occasions between August 2008 and November 2009.

“We can’t get a clear idea of what he has done. He goes to school and he is wound up,” Mr Hallman said.

Mr Hallman said it had been reported to him, by other children on the bus, that his son was often provoked.

Mr Hallman said he supported the proposal to put a security guard on the bus.

Ms Callaghan said bus drivers needed to concentrate on driving the bus, not controlling children. A solution needed to be found soon, she said.

Northern Rivers Buslines would not comment specifically on any of the matters The Northern Star raised. However, manager Dene Perry said the company had followed the State Government’s code of conduct requirements in regard to all incidents that had occurred on the bus.



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