By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Minneapolis Public School bus drivers are worried about safety, for themselves and the children they transport.

They’re concerned overcrowded buses could spread COVID-19. More urgently, they say some buses and drivers have been recently targeted with gunfire.

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Bus drivers are responsible for getting our most precious cargo, our children, to and from school, but those who drive for Minneapolis Public Schools say their safety concerns are being dismissed.

“It’s scary to drive here,” said Marjie Weinberger.

Just two weeks ago a driver and students were put in harm’s way, at a bus stop near 36th and 6th Avenue North.

“As I approached the stop somebody shot at the bus and hit the window directly behind him. Not only was my life in danger but the children’s lives had I lost control of that bus what would have happened to those kids, ” said Driver Sidney Nevils.

Nevils says his calls for help that day went unanswered.

“I was pleading for someone to answer the radio and it didn’t happen,” Nevils.

On Wednesday, a substitute driver was threatened by a parent with a gun. He was upset the bus was late.

The driver, concerned about her safety, did not want her face on television.

“The dad, he came to me yelling and telling me bad words and he said he was going to blow up my head and showing me his gun. The dispatch tried to call police but no police came,” the bus driver said.

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“Besides the actual physical violence that we are being threatened with it also COVID concerns,” Weinberger said.

Drivers also have concerns about the spread of COVID-19 on buses that are over capacity.

Buses top out at 72 kids.

“77, 78 children and telling you to put two and three to a seat but where is the distance,” said Marleana Best.

“They don’t warn us if we got kids that are sick to take home, they never warn us,”  Weinberger said.

They’re told because of a shortage of drivers, there is nothing the district can do.

“Do the best you can do the best you can that is always the answer for everything,” Best said.

WCCO reached out to Minneapolis Public Schools for comment and did not hear back. The district is in contract negotiations with the union that represents bus drivers.

After drivers expressed their safety concerns to the district, they say they were offered an 11 cent raise.

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Reg Chapman