Bus driver cracks and "kidnaps" schoolkids

An unruly group of 40 Sydney Catholic school students was yesterday left at a bus depot by an enraged State Transit driver who could no longer cope with their behaviour.

The Daily Telegraph reports that the students, from Mater Maria Catholic College at Warriewood on Sydney's northern beaches, were held on the bus and taken on a 30-minute ride through the northern suburbs before being "dumped".

Police are investigating claims by the students' parents that their teenage children had been kidnapped -- and are deciding whether charges should be laid.

But the driver's union is defending him, saying it was the second day in a row he had been tormented by the students. The Daily Telegraph learned that the students began abusing and threatening the driver and a State Transit inspector shortly after it left the school at 3.32pm.

It is believed the bus -- the 748 from Warriewood to Brookvale -- was full and a majority of students were involved in the fracas.

The inspector had been travelling as an observer after the driver had complained to depot management about similar behaviour the previous day. When the inspector saw the driver being abused, he cautioned the students, who then turned on him.

But the driver, fed up, drove the bus to the Brookvale bus depot -- about 30 minutes away -- and left them there. It is understood some students phoned their parents on mobiles during the trip, saying they had been kidnapped. The parents then rang police and are pressing for charges to be laid.

The incident was last night confirmed by Transport Minister John Watkins, who said the driver had been stood down on full pay while the matter is being investigated.

Bus driver cracks and kidnaps schoolkids (Daily Telegraph 6/5/05)

No losers in private schools funding (The Age 3/5/05)
Sisters farewelled (Avon Valley Advocate 4/5/05)
Number of Catholic secondary schools slips 20% (Irish Times 28/4/05)

6 May 2005