Parents say their Hahira Elementary kids dropped off by bus driver before DUI

Published: Mar. 22, 2017 at 10:18 AM EDT
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By: Noelani Mathews

March 23, 2017

LOWNDES CO., Ga. (WCTV) -- Parents of Hahira Elementary students are speaking out, after their longtime bus driver is arrested for driving drunk on Tuesday.

They say Amanda Mullinax dropped their kids off at their bus stop, before arriving at Hahira Middle School, where she was arrested for DUI.

"Anything could have happened, anything," says Brittney Conners, a mother of two HES students on board.

She says parents still haven't been notified by the school district.

"They're upset," says Conners. "Half of them don't even know."

She says she read about the incident online, then connected the dots.

"All of that runs through my mind," says Conners. "I really don't know how to process it. Yeah, nothing happened, but that's not the point."

Many parents say their kids were dropped off more than ten minutes late, and their kids seemed disturbed.

"She didn't leave right away. She was lecturing the kids. She even cussed at the kids," says Crystal Rogers, another mother of two HES students on board.

Rogers and Conners share the same bus stop, and both kids told them what happened.

"Just not knowing what's going on when you're not there is really scary," says Rogers.

Like many others, she found out on social media, but never saw a mention that their kids were in danger.

"I think parents just want to make sure their kids that were on that bus are accounted for and their voices are heard," says Rogers.

Several parents are deciding if they're okay putting their kids back on the bus, or if they will find another way to school.

Conners says she's been taking her kids to school since the incident.

"I think it just takes time," says Rogers.

Many hoping with time, they can one day trust their kids are safe.

We reached out the Lowndes County School system. They declined to comment during the ongoing investigation.

By: Noelani Mathews

March 22, 2017

LOWNDES CO., Ga. (WCTV) -- A Lowndes County Schools bus driver was arrested Tuesday for driving under the influence.

The Lowndes County Sheriff's Office says the Hahira Middle School resource officer was able to catch Amanda Mullinax before she could've bused more than 40 kids home.

"It just hits home when it's here at home," says Lori Taylor, a mother of a Lowndes County student.

Many families in Hahira are still in disbelief.

"It's very disturbing to think something like that could happen in our little community," says Taylor. "You don't think about stuff like that."

The LCSO says a student on the bus notified the school's resource officer.

The officer was able to stop the driver, before dozens of kids on board left campus.

"You think you're putting your children into safe hands, and then you find out something like this, and it's not good," says Leilani Futch, with the grandsons at HMS.

"You have to put all your trust in them, then when something like this happens and that trust is lost," adds Taylor.

Mothers, fathers, and grandparents, now questioning school transportation.

Many are still raking over the scary thoughts of what could've happened.

"My gosh, look what could have happened. By the grace of god, it didn't, but it did wake people up," says Futch.

They say it's a wake up call for local families and schools to make sure students make it home safely.

By: Noelani Mathews

March 22, 2017

LOWNDES CO., Ga. (WCTV) -- A Lowndes County Schools bus driver was arrested Tuesday for driving under the influence.

According to the Lowndes County Sheriff's Office, Amanda Marie Mullinax is charged with DUI and several counts of child endangerment.

Wednesday morning, Lowndes County Schools released the following statement regarding the incident.

"An allegation of inappropriate conduct by Mrs. Amanda Marie Mullinax was reported to officials of Lowndes County Schools on March 21, 2017. System personnel immediately began to investigate the allegation and subsequently referred the matter to the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department. Mrs. Mullinax was placed under arrest for driving under the influence and child endangerment. The safety of our students and staff is our top priority. The Lowndes County School System is committed to providing safe transportation for our students. Mrs. Mullinax has been placed on an indefinite suspension by Lowndes County Schools pending further investigation."

WCTV will update this story as more information becomes available.