VAN BUREN (KFSM) - A photograph taken by a motorist Wednesday shows a Van Buren school bus with children sitting on the steps near the bus' door as it is driving through an intersection.
"I just snapped a picture of how fast it was coming down," Jerry Pittman, former Crawford County deputy said. "It wasn't until later you could enlarge the picture and I saw those kids and their faces so clear."
Vicki Renfro shared Pittman's photo on Facebook. She's concerned because her granddaughter will be riding the bus next year. She also has three kids who went to Van Buren Schools.
"My children were in a bus wreck, and you know the thoughts that are going through your mind when you`re going to the hospital to see if your children are okay, those emotions came back to me when I saw that picture," she said.
School officials say they dealt with the situation and cannot say much else.
Brian Summerhill, assistant superintendent, said the Van Buren School District is aware of the situation, and it is now a personnel matter. He said no one with the school district could say anything else on the matter.
Summerhill did not say why the children were sitting on the bus steps or whether the bus driver was disciplined.
In an email to Renfro, Superintendent Kerry Schneider said, "I am aware of the photo. We will make sure that all drivers are made to understand why that is not a practice that we endorse or approve."
Arkansas Statute 6-19-119 states the driver of a school bus cannot move the bus until all students are seated. Students seated on a school bus' steps don't count as being seated because steps are not seats, according to the Van Buren Police Department.
Police said a bus driver with students on the steps could face a misdemeanor traffic citation with an unspecified fine. Police said a school district superintendent who knew about a bus being overloaded could also face a citation, although it is unclear whether the Van Buren school bus in question was overloaded at the time.