North Port (FOX 13) - Parents of a 5-year-old boy are upset with his school bus driver after the child fell out of a moving bus while throwing away chewing gum.
A week ago Monday, Alex Baygulov boarded a Sarasota County school bus like he had done dozens of times before.
As he got on board, Alex was chewing gum -- which is against the rules, according to his parents, Aleksandr and Tanya Baygulov.
The bus driver instructed him to throw it away as the bus started to accelerate and pull off.
"He went to throw away the gum, and then Alex said, 'I was just on the ground,'" his mother explained.
Tanya watched as Alex walked up the aisle toward the front of the moving bus to throw away the gum in a garbage can. She said the bus doors were still open when Alex lost his balance and fell.
Alex didn't remember falling down the stairs or out of the open doors or the impact with the ground.
Tanya remembers it vividly.
"I'm standing 10 feet away looking, and I see the bus started to move and my son falling three steps down on the ground," she recalled.
Tanya had to pull her son from underneath the moving bus, she said.
The driver stopped briefly, handed her a napkin, "and then he just continued with his route," Tanya said.
The parents wondered why and contacted the transportation department looking for these answers:
Why didn't the bus stop? Why wasn't a replacement bus sent while the child was attended to? Why are kids allowed to walk freely on a moving bus?
"If you saw a kid standing, and he doesn't tell him to sit down, absolutely you make that mistake," Aleksandr said, referring to the bus driver.
Sarasota County schools released the following statement:
"Although accounts differ about the incident involving a North Port kindergarten student boarding a bus, we regret that a child was injured. When there is a report of injury to a student resulting from the actions of a driver, the driver is taken off the route while he or she completes a retraining course. That happened in this instance. The school district is reviewing accounts of the incident to determine if further action is warranted."
Other parents witnessed Alex's fall. Tanya said they also contacted the transportation department.
"We just don't want any other parents to go through this," Tanya added.