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North Carolina bus driver allegedly paid students to swab their cheeks for what she said were Covid tests

The driver has been suspended as the school district investigates the woman for allegedly "acting in an unauthorized manner."
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North Carolina's second largest school district is investigating accusations that a bus driver offered students $5 to swab their cheeks.

About 10 kids who attend Ridge Road Middle School of Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools came home last month to tell their parents the same story: Their bus driver gave them $5 to perform what she said was a Covid-19 test.

Dawn Thompson told NBC affiliate WCNC of Charlotte that she was suspicious as soon as her 8th grader told her what had happened.

"And immediately I said, 'A Covid test?' And she said, 'Yeah, in my cheek.' I said, 'A Covid test is not done in your cheek,'" Thompson said. 

"Where did the swabs go?" Thompson wondered. 

It's unclear why the bus driver collected students' saliva.

Bus drivers for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools are hired by the district, a district spokesperson told NBC News on Friday.

"The driver is suspended and an investigation is ongoing," said a district statement this week. "The alleged incident appears to be an individual acting in an unauthorized manner outside of assigned duties, and without the district or school having prior knowledge."

Thompson and at least one other parent have filed police reports. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police did not respond to requests for additional information.