A bus firm has come under fire after children were left to walk to school following a rush-hour smash.
About 10 students and three adults were on the Go North East service when the bus was involved in a collision with a truck on Washington Highway, in Blackfell, just before 8am yesterday.
Jazmine is going to be all right, but at the time there was no consideration of the kids.Mum Lorraine Kew
An inquiry is now being carried out to establish the circumstances of what happened after the minor bump, which caused a small amount of damage to the 85 bus.
Parents have been left furious after the children said they were told they could wait for the next service or walk the rest of their journey – but claimed no efforts were made to ensure they remained safe or to contact the school.
Head of school at Oxclose Community Academy Paul Hegarty has praised the children who raised the alarm when they arrived, with the older students taking care of the younger pupils during the journey on foot.
But she has also joined one mum who has raised concerns over the conduct of the transport firm.
Mrs Hegarty said: “The first we knew of it was when they arrived at school and asked to see the school nurse.
“She carried out an assessment and we ran parents and some of them were concerned enough to come and collect their children.
“Some of the younger ones went their own way when they got here, but the others involved went and found them and said they needed to be checked out.
“We also had to go and find some of them to speak to them and they were absolutely fine, but I think it shows how caring they are.
“I am concerned the bus company did not contact the school.
“The bus company has since been in touch to first of all to pass on its concerns and they have asked if they can help at all.
“I must praise our children, who did their best to get to school and did the right thing when they got here and made sure they got the treatment they required.”
She added the school had several conversations with Go North East following the collision.
Lorraine Kew, 37, from the Coach Road Estate, is among the parents who have complained to the company after her 13-year-old daughter Jazmine was on the bus.
Since then the Year 9 student has suffered back pain and a headache following the jolt to the bus, although she has decided not to visit a walk-in centre.
Lorraine, who is also mum to two other children and works at the Tesco Extra store in Monkwearmouth, said: “Jazmine is going to be all right, but at the time there was no consideration of the kids.
“She says the driver did not ask any one of them how they were. I think he was more shocked than they were.”
Stephen King, a Go North East spokesman, said: “On October 2, Go North East service 85 was involved in a minor collision with a truck in Blackfell, Washington.
“There were no reported injuries at the scene and all passengers reported that they were fine.
“No one required medical assistance.
“Instead of waiting for a replacement bus to arrive to take them on to their final destination, some passengers chose to leave the scene of their own accord.
“This included a group of school children heading to Oxclose School, who arrived safely at school afterwards.
“We have spoken to the school today and a number of parents of those involved.
“Passenger safety is our number one priority and in such incidences we always provide a replacement service.”