Betty Alvarez hugs her son, Jesse. (Photo by Rachel Cox)
KILLEEN (January 17, 2014) Betty Alvarez of Killeen says she’s waiting for answers from school officials after someone took a potshot at the school bus on which her 15-year-old disabled son was riding on Monday.
The driver of the bus, Edward Burris, said he was driving Monday on Mountain Lion Road in Harker Heights near Purser Park when he heard the shot and then heard something bouncing around inside the bus.
After he pulled over he found a BB rolling around on the floor of the bus, he said.
Alvarez said she learned about the incident from media reports and from Burris, who resigned Tuesday because of the district’s response to the incident.
Alvarez said usually if something happens involving her son Jesse, who is a special needs student, someone calls her to notify her of the situation, but not this time.
"When I go to the school and ask the teachers what happened they tell me they don't know nothing," Alvarez said Friday.
Alvarez said she also called the Killeen ISD’s Transportation Department and was told that the incident was still under investigation.
Alvarez said she hopes something will change about how the district responds to such incidents.
Burris, meanwhile, said Friday he has met with school district police about the incident.
"(I) gave them a statement there and they did inform me they did receive a copy of the video off the bus and they could hear the shot as well and it was extremely loud as well on the video," Burris said.
Burris said he first called in to report the incident Monday he was told to continue with his route rather than notifying police.
"The police are just in disbelief over the stuff going on with the Transportation Department,” he said Friday.
“It’s very evident that this incident was trying to be hid from law enforcement and the general public," Burris said.
Burris, the student, who’s in a wheelchair, and the student’s monitor escaped injury in the incident.
Burris said he learned after the incident on Monday that something similar happened last year on the bus on which his daughter rides.
"I found out...that sometime last year that her bus had a BB shot into its window,” he said.
“I worked for the district and had to wait over a year to find out," Burris said.
While he says he’s concerned about his daughter’s safety, he said he’s a single parent and has no other way to get her to and from school.
In a statement issued Wednesday afternoon, Killeen Deputy Superintendent John Craft said the district “is committed to ensuring the safety of our students and staff.”
He said the incident is under review and said district officials were working closely with Killeen ISD police.
“At this point, we are unable to confirm the initial reported information and we are continuing to investigate the matter,” he said in the statement.