MATA Speaks out on Student Mayhem on Bus

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

(Memphis) MATA says if school students can't behave on a city bus, their privileges to ride it should be taken away. This comes after mayhem on a city bus Tuesday in which police were called after an incident involving  20 students from the Martin Luther School.

Memphis City Schools says about half of the of students that attend MLK get free passes to ride the city bus.  MATA says that should be a privilege, not a right.

"It's just unbelievable some of the behavior that we've seen," said Alison Burton, the director of marketing and customer service for MATA.

Burton says student behavior on city buses keeps getting worse.  MATA says it's an even bigger problem with students from MLK, an alternative school in South Memphis

"The reason MLK academy exists period is because of the behavior that was exhibited on the bus," said Kenneth Whalum, a commissioner on the Memphis Board of Education.

On Tuesday, police say about 20 students banged on windows, cursed and fought, creating a dangerous situation for the driver and a scary one for passengers.

"It makes me not want to catch the bus," said Rider Sandra Woode.

Riders say the behavior happens all the time.

"If you are continually disruptive than your privileges will be taken away from you," said Burton.

Memphis City Schools issues free city bus passes to 65 students at MLK.  That's because the students have to get there from surrounding areas but MCS says those privileges can, and will be, revoked for "disruptive behavior".  It's behavior that riders say has gone on too long.

"This goes on down here just about every day," said Woode.

 MLK's principal says he's reviewing the MATA security video to see who should be suspended and who should have their bus privileges taken away.

"What should be done to those kids is they need to be disciplined," said Whalum.

MCS says the principal of MLK has notified parents they must attend a mandatory meeting about the student's behavior on the bus.