La. Bus Driver Investigated Over Charges She Forced Black Students to Back of Bus

A Louisiana school district is investigating complaints that a white school bus driver ordered nine black children to sit at the back of the bus.

Red River Parish Schools Superintendent Kay Easley acknowledged she investigated the claim, and she confirmed to The (Shreveport) Times said the driver wasn't on the same route Wednesday.

Easley did not return calls Thursday seeking further comment. The newspaper said she had declined to comment further on Wednesday.

Iva Richmond, whose 14- and 15-year-old children were on the bus, told The Associated Press on Thursday that they previously had a black bus driver, but their bus assignment changed this year. When school started this month, the white driver told them she had assigned them seats, with the black children at the back of the bus.

Richmond said she complained to a local principal, who told the driver that if any children were assigned to seats, all would have to be.

Early last week, the driver assigned black students to two seats in the back of the bus, an arrangement that had some of the smaller children sitting in the laps of older children.

"All nine children were assigned to two seats in the back of the bus and the older ones had to hold the smaller ones in their laps," she said.

Richmond said her complaints to parish school officials were not immediately acted on. But she said Easley told her Wednesday that the situation would be addressed.

"She said she was going to take care of it but she could not go into details about how she's going to take care of it," Richmond said.

NAACP District Vice President James Panell of Shreveport told The Times he would give federal attorneys details of the situation this week. The northwest Louisiana district has about 1,600 public school students.