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No charges against bus driver after family claims child was tied down

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LEXINGTON, N.C. — The District Attorney’s Office is declining to press charges in Davidson County after a family complained that their son, who has special needs, was tied down on a school bus.

Assistant District Attorney Greg Brown says the Sheriff’s Department provided him the full investigation file including three video recordings of surveillance on the school bus.

The state is declining prosecution in this matter, Brown said.

Brown said he came to the conclusion that the bus driver and the aide on the bus “did not show criminal intent in the actions they participated in.” He also said the red marks on the child’s arms were almost or completely gone by the time the boy arrived at school.

Brown also said there was no bruising on the child’s body.

Brown said he was also able to see and hear the interactions between the aide and the school bus driver while they secured the child. He said there was “no struggle, no force used, and no fear in the child’s eyes.”

“Both the bus driver and aide used quiet and kind voices,” he added, and said they seemed interested in the safety of the child.

Brown said their actions may have violated school bus policies, but he did not feel it involved criminal behavior.

Donna Stafford, the public information officer for Davidson County Schools, confirmed the bus monitor, Alton Jefferies, has been terminated. He was dismissed on April 14.


  • its my business

    Brown stated their actions violated school bus policies. I have not seen the videos so I really should not be commenting. I only comment on the copy that is written in this instance.

  • Pissed off Mama

    I dont care what the circumstances were, if they could not control the child, they should have stopped the bus and radioed the school and had the parents contacted to meet them to pick up the child. If the marks were enough that CPS was called by the school, then the marks were most definitely not “almost gone” by the time the child got to the school. This is an outrage. You do not treat children with developmental disabilities in this manner, Using a calm voice or not, if a kid is being tied down, they are going to be scared to death. This is BS…..and I am sure there is going to be alot more flack from the parents for this one. The driver and the aide caused the parents to be questioned by CPS. Once there has been a CPS investigation against a parent, they are always under the eye of scrutiny. I hope the parents sue the school system over this, and the davidson county sheriffs department for deeming it a non criminal act. It sure as hell wasn’t a loving caring act. Do you tie up your kids when they misbehave? NO! So why should anyone else, especially a school employee. I don’t think it is enough that this bus driver lost their job, theyll just get another job with another school and the same thing will happen again.

    • hans

      People need to get over themselves with this. Saying bad things about the driver and the aid I mean really. Half of you have never been in a situation like this. I find it funny that you get mad when ever a special needs child is restrained I mean there are tons of ways to do things but if you’re in a vehicle and someone is acting out you’re going to restrain them. Hell 15% of the prison population is special needs but they get restrained just the same as anyone else. Your kids aren’t special get over yourselves. Just because these peoples job is working with “special needs children” doesn’t mean they should let the kids do what the hell they want. Half of all kids who are “autistic” aren’t even autistic do some research on the “disabilities’ before you start feeling bad for people.

      • lanna

        Unless you are an expert on pervasive developmental disorders you should really refrain from making a comment which really displays what a bigoted ignorant fool you are

      • lanna

        in addition….this child is not a criminal. Nor should he be treated like one. Comparing an innocent child to convicted criminals shows a lack of reasoning skills.

      • Norma Jean Davis Henley

        Research on kids not being autistic? I’ve researched Autism and have never seen any research that you speak of. Now there is research on kids being drugged for having ADHD when most aren’t. Autism is NOT just a misbehaved, hyper child…. I know I have one that has Autism and he’s the best behaved of my 3 children. So go back under that rock you crawled out from under there buddy,

      • hans

        You’re right I’m not an expert in the field but my wife is. And the simple fact of the matter is a lot of people are not truly autistic some people have natural character traits that are similar but they don’t function the same way. I don’t know why people get so offended when someone says that about someone. Also my reasoning is completely fine if you are intelligent enough to put two and two together. As far as if you think I’m a punk you should do a little computer work and come find me. Talking trash over the internet doesn’t do a whole for me.

    • Outraged Grandmother

      I agree with you 100%! Evidentley Mr. Brown has NEVER had a SPECIAL NEEDS CHILD. This kind of behavior by a stranger or anybody, is UNACCEPTABLE. You DO NOT tie a child up, Special needs or not. Reading this has upset me so much. It is a good thing it did not happen to MY SPECIAL NEEDS GRANDSON.
      Mr. Brown, you should be ashame for sweeping this under the carpet. The parents deal with enough on a daily basis, they should not have to worry about what is going to happen when they put their child on the bus. I am still outraged.

    • Tracey

      The problem is there are no seat belts on school buses and for the child’s safely he needed securing, had he been on the handicap bus he would have been secure.

  • Tiffany

    So if the red marks were almost gone by the time he got to school, why did DSS feel the need to step in and accuse the parents at first? Must have been a little worse than they are betraying.

    • Sinner

      Tiffany, I guess the point here is that the parents would go to jail !! But the state worker gets moved to another job and a pay raise !!

  • Kat

    Heaven forbid, what if the bus would have had an accident that involved fire or a body of water. Yes seatbelts do hang up some times, but there is no way the driver or aide would have risked their own lives to untie this little fella to prevent him from drowning or burning if this would have been the case.

  • lynn

    This is the exact reason that people take the law into their own hands. I can guarantee if it was the DA’s child there would be charges. This is ridiculous, NO child NO matter the circumstances deserves to be tied down. The school principal could have told parents that the child was suspended off the bus until he followed the rules. The child did not deserve to be tied down.

    • Sinner

      Lynn the bus driver and the DA and CPS,the Sheriffs office all are paid with taxpayer money,it was bad enough to go after the parents but not their coworkers !! You are right this type of injustice will cause some people to SNAP !!

    • hans

      What if what special needs with a knife? Would you still feel the same. He could’ve gotten up and jerked the steering wheel and who knows what could’ve happened. These employees had the safety of everyone on there mind. They didn’t ratchet strap the kid to a seat they made it so that he couldn’t get up and cause an accident. Take yourself out of the eyes of the parent of this child and put yourself in the shoes of another student’s parent who was riding the bus. You people on here are so biased as to not look at all angles but what the media wants you to look at. How come they didn’t interview any other parents to see how they felt? I can almost guarantee they didn’t mind because everyone was safe. I just don’t understand how we are supposed to treat everyone equal in society but bend over backwards for everyone at the same time somethings gotta give.

  • K. S.

    So if this child were in a hospital setting restraints would be against the law without a doctor’s order. I understand the need for safety, but was it really necessary?

  • Zombiekiller

    The DA has nothing to gain covering up for a school bus driver. Sad the kid was tied with scarves but it appears they had his best interests at heart.

  • Tina Holcomb

    I have an elementary-school-age adopted son who has been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. Because I’ve seen how my child can rage and become aggressive, I won’t automatically blame the bus driver and aide. There are times that a raging child can put others in danger, and going down a road in a vehicle is one of those times. I’ve had to pull over many times, and I’ve been forced to restrain my son many times. I’ve never tied him up though. That’s a line I won’t cross. Maybe the aide should have physically restrained him instead, until he calmed down.

    • Venus

      I understand where you are coming from. I also have a child with Bipolar and the rages are violent. This child has Autism which presents itself very differently. I also have a child with Autism. I didn’t see the video but lets say it was necessary to restrain the young man. There are rules and laws in place to do that properly and this was not it. The fact of the matter is the parents were going to get charged with child abuse and they would have gotten charged criminally, If the investigation had not found out it was the driver. Once it was found out it was a school employee then nothing was done. It was no longer a big deal. They all better Thank God it wasn’t my child this happened to because If the law or DSS didn’t follow the law and do the right thing. I would handle it myself and I could care less who knows. I am horrified that I am the one responsible for making sure Monitors are on all EC buses in Davidson county. I thought it would make the kids safe and something like this would not happen again. The driver is the one who did it according to the story. The monitor silently stood by and when it was reported to DSS at least the driver and the monitor knew who made those marks. I think lying about abuse you have witnessed is serious. Just as serious as the person who abuses. This is far from over. This has touched too many people.

  • Tricia Nichols

    As the mother of a special needs child this is infuriating!!! There are ways to handle the behavior. I have never never never restained my child to deal with his behavior, that would likely cause him to act out more!! If the ties where tight enough to leave red marks that warrented the school to call CPS then they were not “almost gone” when the child got to school. This would not be over if it were my child!!!

  • Sinner

    So just how many of these Brown people are related in that county ? Sounds like somebody knows somebody !! Going against the School is like going against City hall !!

  • Smith

    Here is my issue with this story. The original story says the school was concerned because the child had marks on him. Someone was concerned enough with either the severity of the marks or his distress or both to bring it to the attention of school officials who in turn felt it was worthy of the attention of DSS. DSS contacts the parents with an accusatory attitude putting them under immediate scrutiny and getting the Davidson County Sheriff’s office involved. Now the totally innocent parents have a record with DSS. Everyone was ready to prosecute the parents over what was seen, heard and said. Now that the school bus employees were responsible, it is no big deal suddenly. The marks have magically become next to invisible; the child is content with being tied to a bus seat; nobody is to be held responsible & certainly the parents are not entitled to a very public apology? HUH??? Where a rat’s nest exists, there are rats. Something is very wrong here and the parents are entitled to insist on the same lawful entitlements that were used to threaten them. I hope justice ends up being true justice here.

  • Kristi @ The Potter's Hand Academy

    Believe this, if *I* did the exact same thing to *my* kid, I’d have lost custody and would be facing charges. I call bull.

  • lynn

    Kerri – You commented on the original story. I hope you read these comments as well. You have unbelievable support from a lot of parents out here. I cannot believe that something like this happened to your family. Not only would I request/demand a PUBLIC apology I would sue the pants off EVERYONE involved. The stress you and your family went through with this is unacceptable. Kerri we are praying that you and your family will get justice in this unjust world.

  • Samantha Walls

    Regardless what circumstances was they shouldn’t of done that little boy like that if it would’ve been my child I would’ve kicked someone’s face in if they can’t handle a child they should’ve called the parents to come get him not tie him up that bus driver deserves more than fired he should of got took to jail us as parents if we did something like this the DA would’ve gave us jail time plus take our kids I look at it this way them bus drivers teacher’s or whatever they are no different than us he should be punished wrong is wrong.

  • Connie

    Why didn’t the aide have him sit with him to calm him down instead of them tying him down? That would have been better than what they did to that little boy who will remember this forever.

  • Concerned

    I can imagine how hard it is to have a special needs child and the difficulties that arise in parenting them. I can also imagine how difficult it must be to drive a special needs bus and have to concentrate on driving when a child is continuously being a distraction and a safety hazard to himself and the other special needs children. Keeping the other children calm must be an issue as well. Why aren’t any of the other parents upset at the school for not getting help with this child when it was originally asked?

    I haven’t seen the footage but it says the child did not seem fearful and the driver and monitor were speaking in calming tones. I suppose the monitor should have sat with the child to keep him calm and in his seat. If they weren’t properly trained in procedures how would they know exactly what steps to take?

    If this had been my child and the driver asked me how to help keep him in his seat I would have immediately sought help from the school rather than complain about the driver. Or best case scenario I would have put my child and his safety first and driven him myself until an alternative was found. He could potentially be an endangerment for the other children if he were running around the bus. Sad. I’m glad the child is ok and hope Davidson County and the State will change how drivers are trained.

    Suing? Really? It sounds like this school is so improperly funded they are barely able to keep it running. Taking money away from it is only going to make the situation worse.

    • Venus

      Improperly funded? Lol. They just took several million dollars to accept the Federal Common Core. Now they hate it. We have voted on sales tax increases for the schools year after year, We accepted the lottery only because it was supposed to fund the schools. We pay property taxes to fund the schools. Shhh, the schools have more than enough money they just spend way too much on administrators salaries. I bet a lot of people don’t know that the Super’s get around 15,000 to 18,000 a month plus perks. Also, the school systems get around 6,000-8,000 per child. If the money followed the child every child would have an awesome education. Then the money would actually go into that child’s classroom. It would make a lot of teachers happy and it would benefit the classroom and kids. That is where the money is supposed to help in the first place.

  • Venus

    At least the administration did the right thing and fired both the driver and the monitor. That was all they could do. However, DSS and the DA’s office are now the ones in the wrong. DSS has an obligation to conclude the investigation and that conclusion is the school bus driver abused the child and left marks. They are then required to report it to the sheriff’s department. That is a crime and it is located in the General Statues. It is also a crime under DSS laws and regulations. There should be charges filed for at the very least assault on a minor. DA/DSS should make sure these people do not work around children ever again.

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