A school bus driver has been suspended after reports that she gave students $5 apiece to take what she claimed was a COVID test. Several students from Ridge Road Middle School told their parents about what happened, prompting an investigation by the Charlotte Mecklenburg School district.
Parent Dawn Thompson told WCNC that she knew something wasn’t right when her daughter told her the bus driver asked her to swab her cheek.
“And immediately I said ‘a COVID test’? And she said ‘yeah in my cheek,’ I said ‘a COVID test is not done in your cheek,'” Thompson told the news station.
Dynasty Davis told WRAL that the same thing happened to her.
“She gave me the Q-tip … and made me swab my mouth, and when I was done, I put it in the cylinder and gave it to her. Then she gave me $5,” the sixth-grader said.
Her mother, Mone Davis, was outraged about what happened.
“As a minor, she was taken advantage of, and she shouldn’t have done anything to my child without parental consent,” Davis said.
“Her trust for her bus driver — it was taken advantage of, my daughter trusted her because of the position she was in, I trusted her because of the position that she’s in,” Davis said.
Both parents have filed a police report and want to know why the bus driver took cheek swabs of their children. Davis suggested the bus driver was collecting the children’s DNA.
“I don’t know why she would want to get their DNA. I don’t know what she’s going to use it for — whether it’s going to be some kind of study,” said Thompson. “Immediately, in my mind, I’m thinking are you trying to kidnap my child? I don’t know.”
The school district issued a statement regarding the incident.
“The driver is suspended, and an investigation is ongoing,” a district spokesperson said. “The alleged incident appears to be an individual acting in an unauthorized manner outside of assigned duties, and without the district or school having prior knowledge.”