Education

School bus monitor wanted boy, 7, to sit up straight. What she did next is under debate.

Mom says video shows bus monitor struck her son. She wants more action taken.

A Lexington mother wants additional action taken against a former Fayette County school bus monitor. The mother says this surveillance video shows the monitor struck her seven-year-old son when he leaned his head into the bus aisle.
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A Lexington mother wants additional action taken against a former Fayette County school bus monitor. The mother says this surveillance video shows the monitor struck her seven-year-old son when he leaned his head into the bus aisle.

A Lexington mother wants additional action taken against a former Fayette County school bus monitor who the mother said roughly handled her seven-year-old son when he leaned his head into the bus aisle.

Cassie Dolen contends that a video she received a few weeks ago of the incident taped by cameras on the bus shows that the monitor struck her son.

Dolen provided the Herald-Leader with police documents that said an officer determined that a video taped on a Fayette County Public Schools bus showed that the bus monitor pushed the boy’s head back in his seat when he leaned his head into the aisle.

In a statement this week , district spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall said Fayette school officials took action and the bus monitor is no longer employed with the district.

“Since this is a personnel issue, we are limited as to what we can say, but I can tell you that we were made aware of this incident as soon as it happened, took swift action to ensure the safety of our children and the individual is no longer employed in Fayette County Public Schools.”

Deffendall would not elaborate.

Cassie Dolen said while the video is blurry, she thinks it shows the woman hitting her son on April 24, the first day he rode the school bus to school .

Dolen provided the Herald-Leader with the video and a Lexington Police Department case report in which an officer said the video showed the boy leaning in his seat with his head close to the middle aisle of the bus. The officer said the video showed that the bus monitor came from the back of the bus “clearly scolding the child” to sit back in his seat, “then with her right hand (the bus monitor) made contact” with the boy’s head and pushed his head back in the seat towards the window.

According to the report, the bus monitor told the child to scoot over, sat next to him and said something along the lines of “You are not going to come on this bus acting a fool.”

The boy told police because it was his first day riding the bus, he did not know the rules.The bus monitor, whose name was redacted from the police report, told police that she did not slap the child but put her hand on the child’s head and pushed him to get up because he was laying in the seat. She did not recall sitting beside him as the officer said the video shows. She told police that school district officials told her to resign or she would be fired, so she quit her job. State social workers also investigated the incident and had a plan of action, according to the police report, but the plan was not outlined in police documents.

The police document said that an officer in May intended to file a criminal charge of harassment with physical contact at the request of the mother. However, in June, the Fayette County Attorney’s office declined to prosecute, according to the report. The report did not cite a reason.

One of Dolen’s friends has posted a petition on the website change.org to “get justice” for the boy and his mother. The petition had more than 1,000 signatures by Wednesday morning.

Dolen said she wants the Kentucky Attorney General’s office to review the case. She said she also wants action taken so the former bus monitor can not work with children in the future.

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