Parents furious after students allegedly left on hot bus

LITCHFIELD PARK, AZ - A group of Valley parents are furious after they say their children's lives were put in danger by a school bus driver.

The students spoke with ABC15 about being locked on the bus by the driver with no air-conditioning and the windows closed up.

"You could see it in her face, she was bright pink and perspiration was dripping off of her," said Heather McGraw's mother Susan after seeing her daughter come home from school.

Heather and friend Victoria Colwell say they were forced into a horrible punishment riding home from school Friday.

The girls and about 40 other students from L. Thomas Heck Middle School in Litchfield Park say they had to endure brutally hot temperatures locked inside the bus.

The girls say it happened when the driver became agitated after the bus went over a bump and the kids screamed.

"She [the driver] immediately pulled over to the side of the road, and she said, "This is what happens when you scream. You knew I was going to hit that bump, your lives were not in danger, and this is what happens. I pull over to the side of the road and turn off the air-conditioning, and you sit here for 10 minutes," Colwell said, recalling the bus ride.

It was more than 100 degrees outside Friday, and much hotter inside the bus. The girls say the driver even made sure the windows stayed closed.

"You could see little drops of sweat on the seats, because people were sweating so much, it was just staying on the seats," Heather said.

"It felt like you were immersed in just heat," Victoria explained.

Heather and Victoria's parents contacted ABC15, outraged a bus driver would do something they consider torture.

The parents were also upset about the dangers the situation caused. With the bus pulled over on a small road, the parents said other drivers had to slow down and go around the bus in the oncoming traffic lane.

"She endangered other people, besides the children that were on that bus," mother Susan said. "It was just insane thinking."

"You need to learn how to have self-control, and you need to learn how to deal with loud kids, because that comes with being a middle school bus driver," Victoria complained.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is investigating the incident.

Heather and Victoria's parents say L. Thomas Heck Middle School assured them officials were reviewing the security camera on the bus, and that the driver would be switched to a different bus route for Monday.

ABC15 attempted to contact the Litchfield Elementary School District for comment, but had not heard back by Friday night.

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