Friday, October 13, 2006

Assault on school bus

This is just unacceptable. This is why I think we ought to have a second adult on school busses. A camera is insufficient. It's hard enough to keep your eyes on the road and drive safely without having to keep one eye behind you to ensure the children are behaving properly. From the City Paper:

A newly hired Metro School bus driver has been suspended and a police investigation has been launched after an 11-year-old special education student was allegedly sexually assaulted by a fellow student on a Metro School bus last week.
The following morning, the father went to J.T. Moore to speak with the principal, Deloris Burke. According to the father, his complaints fell on unconcerned ears and his calls to Metro School’s Central Office went unreturned for days.

“I called down to the Central Office and I couldn’t get anybody,” he said. “I just wanted somebody to get the principal or the assistant principal’s attention.”
“Probably they’re just afraid of doing anything that damages the criminal investigation and that’s just part of the training,” [MNPS Spokesman Woody] McMillin said. “There’s only so much you can do and only so much information you can provide. The police department is pretty strict on us.”

Maybe, but surely someone should have explained that to these parents immediately--not days later. Not one of their phone calls to the central office should have gone unresponded to for days. Didn't the training include ensuring that parents walk away with the knowledge that staff cares, is responsive and has put a situation like this at the top of the To Do list.

Communication and customer care, folks.

UPDATE 10/31/06:

The driver, after having been placed on administrative leave is now in a 90 day probationary period according to the City Paper.


hollerinwoman said...

This is disgusting. Why aren't parents assigned one shift (to or from school) per school year to monitor behavior on the buses? Failing that, why can't the busriders' parents be charged a security fee to put an officer on board? Why aren't bus rules made and stuck to? Busrides are a convenience for parents, but absent external rules and/or internal morals, any closed, overcrowded environment will produce a "lord of the flies" scenario eventually. School officials need to admit this and DO SOMETHING.

Eric Holcombe said...

You mean kids on a state vehicle just walk around and get out of their seats whenever they want?

Whodathunkit? Why, I get a citation from the same state if those same kids are in my personal vehicle and not buckled in/booster seated/ etc.

Kay Brooks said...


Oddly, a new law in Tennessee requires daycare centers to buy real school busses with seatbelts---for the safety of the children.