Parents are urging Stagecoach to ban adults from travelling on school buses – after children were left traumatised by a horrific incident in which a woman was left covered in blood.
One of the adults, a woman, was later seen coated in her own blood, having suffered injuries thought to have been self-inflicted with a knife. All three were detained by police.
The following day, two PCSOs travelled on the route in a bid to reassure youngsters, who were also offered “appropriate support” by their school.
But concerned dad Daniel Cotgrove, whose daughter Chloe was on the bus and left shaken by what she witnessed, believes more needs to be done to protect pupils.
“It was like something out of a horror movie, and it should never have happened,” the 40-year-old explained.
“School buses have to be just for children because, as parents, we put our trust in Stagecoach that they will get our children home safely.
“I think they failed. It’s imperative that something more is done to safeguard the welfare of our children.
“I’m very angry, and I worry about my daughter taking the bus now. I was sat looking at the clock on Monday waiting for her to come home.
“She phoned me at about 4.10pm and said there was an incident on the bus and that she was going to be late, so I didn’t think any more of it.
“When she got in, she looked as though she was going to burst into tears. When she explained what happened, it really shocked me.”
Chloe, 15, did not attend classes for two days after the harrowing incident.
Mr Cotgrove says when he phoned Spires to inform teachers his daughter would not be in school staff confirmed “quite a few children” were also staying at home.
“It does play on her mind,” he said. “Over the weekend, there were periods where she was very, very quiet. You can tell she was thinking about it.
“I’m concerned. She’s too young to have witnessed something like this.”
And even though Chloe returned to her desk on Monday, Mr Cotgrove says she continues to be anxious about taking the bus.
Officers have been liaising with Spires to ensure any youngsters who saw what happened receive support.
'Public transport is a safe way to travel, and incidents such as this are extremely unusual.'
Worried parents also took to Facebook to question how the adults were allowed to board the bus, with one describing the incident as “terrifying”.
Another posted on social media: “This is awful. School buses should be for kids only. This is a safeguarding issue surely.”
A spokesman for Stagecoach would not respond to the calls to prohibit adults from school buses, which are deemed public services.
But he stresses there were “no reports of any harm or injury to any other passengers travelling on this school-time service”.
“We take the safety of our passengers extremely seriously and, like everyone, we were shocked by this incident,” he added.
“Our driver was able to ensure these individuals were not on the bus when the police arrived at the scene.
“Public transport is a safe way to travel, and incidents such as this are extremely unusual."
The injured woman was passed into the care of healthcare professionals, while a 24-year-old man has been bailed pending further investigations.
Another woman, Bethany Lee, 22, of no fixed abode, has been charged with being drunk and disorderly and is due to appear at Margate Magistrates’ Court on December 3.