Some 27 students aged between 10 and 14 were abandoned outside Jacksonville last Wednesday, over eight miles away from home.

A substitute Duval County school bus driver  – “Mrs Boston” – singled out hijab-wearing girls and “foreign-looking” boys, ordering them to get out.

Ali al-Hamad said his children, along with as many others from Fort Caroline Middle School, were kicked off their bus because they were Muslim.

"We feel so sorry" that the situation happened, said Zahra Diya al-Din, a 14-year-old student who was on the school bus.

"Why did [the bus driver] put us down on the bus? We weren't doing anything."

Some of the students were even fasting, but nevertheless had to walk the whole distance home under the Florida sun.

Avoiding responsbility

Concerned parents contacted the school, which informed them that nothing could be done other than to make sure the driver was not given responsibility for these particular students again.

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But students were stunned two days later when a school bus with a different driver stopped briefly at 08:30 to pick up two white students and left all the others at a busy intersection.

Angry parents contacted the school to be told that a second bus would pick the children up, which eventually turned up at 10:00.

Many have decided to keep their children at home until a trustworthy service can be provided.

School investigation

"We feel so sorry that the situation happened",

Zahra Diya al-Din,
a 14-year-old student

School system officials said they are working with the bus company to determine what happened.

 

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