School Bus with Painted Over Name Tries to Pick up Children in Southwest Michigan

A school district in southwest Michigan is warning parents and students about an unmarked school bus that tried to pick children up at a bus stop on Thursday, Oct. 19.

The Van Buren School District said in an alert that an unmarked school bus was seen stopping in the West Willow neighborhood of Ypsilanti Township around 7:20 a.m.

“Do Not Allow your students to approach any bus not clearly marked with Van Buren Public Schools on it,” Pam Johnson, executive assistant to the superintendent, wrote on the district’s website.

The Washington County Sheriff’s office said in a Nixle alert that the letters on the bus seemed to have been spray painted over, and that when the students did not get on the bus, the driver sped off.

“At this time deputies are working to locate and confirm if the bus is assigned to a particular district/school or what the drivers motives may have been,” the sheriff’s office said.

Peter Kudlak, district superintendent, told MLive that a parent had been with the children and didn’t let them get on the bus.

The parent told authorities that something didn’t seem right when the bus overshot the stop, reported WDIV Local 4.

“Clearly unmarked school buses are not affiliated with any school district,” Kudlak told the MLive. “It’s marked the same on first day of school as on the 20th day of school.”

Two other reported sightings of unmarked buses in the area are being investigated.

Derrick Jackson of the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office told MLive they were notified of a similarly unmarked bus near Michigan Avenue and Prospect Street in the Ypsilanti Township area.

Another unmarked bus was reported at the Belleville Manor mobile home community at about 8:30 a.m., Van Buren Township Director of Public Safety Greg Laurain, told MLive.

Kudlak said the district has asked police to have a greater presence during Thursday’s afternoon dismissal and the Friday morning bus route, and warned students turn down any offer of transportation that makes them feel uncomfortable.


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