Alleged bus stop incident ‘a misunderstanding’

Published 3:09 pm Monday, March 18, 2019

Families in the Burbage Grant neighborhood were alerted early Monday morning about a possible “stranger danger” incident that Suffolk Police later determined to be a student who had missed her middle school bus.

In an email sent out by Suffolk Public Schools around 10:30 a.m. Monday to Burbage Grant families — whose children attend Northern Shores Elementary School, Col. Fred Cherry Middle School and Nansemond River High School — the school division said they had wanted to inform parents in the neighborhood of the incident.

Two middle school students reported that a silver car with two men approached the bus stop at Respass Beach Road and Bay Circle, according to the first email sent out by the school division, with the students reporting that one passenger got out of the car and chased them back to one of the students’ driveway.

Email newsletter signup

One student reported the incident to their parent and made their bus driver aware when she picked them up, according to the first email sent out by the school division.

“The bus driver immediately contacted the division’s Transportation Department, who contacted the Suffolk Police Department and CFCMS,” the first email to parents stated.

Emergency Communications received a call around 7 a.m. for suspicious activity at a bus stop, according to city public information officer Diana Klink.

She said an officer responded to the scene, and preliminary information was turned over to the school resource officer for further investigation. Around 12:25 p.m., the police investigation concluded that the incident was a student who had missed her bus at her stop and was running to catch it when her mother had driven her to the next bus stop, Klink said. It did not have anything to do with stranger danger, she said.

A subsequent Suffolk Public Schools email sent out around 2 p.m. said the concern regarding the incident at the Col. Fred Cherry Middle School bus stop was a misunderstanding.

Because it was still dark, the students who had reported seeing a car pull up and someone run toward them did not see the late student get on the bus, the second email stated.

“Suffolk Public Schools commends the students for reporting what they thought was suspicious, and the division followed procedure to notify police and make families aware of the report,” the second email stated.