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Bus incidents mount in Brunswick County

THE FOLLOWING IS A NEWS RELEASE SENT FROM BRUNSWICK COUNTY SCHOOLS IN REGARDS TO TWO INCIDENTS ON BUSES. THE FIRST, WHICH WE FIRST REPORTED LAST WEEK, INVOLVED A 5-YEAR-OLD STUDENT DROPPED OFF AT THE WRONG LOCATION AT AN APARTMENT COMPLEX BEHIND THE LELAND WALMART. THE SECOND INVOLVES ONE STUDENT CUTTING THE EYELID OF ANOTHER STUDENT WITH A PAIR OF FINGERNAIL CLIPPERS:

“Brunswick County Schools transport seven thousand students twice a day for one hundred eighty days. The margin for error is zero. We must execute every run, every day, with perfection.” Edward H. Pruden, Ed.D., Superintendent

We depend on our transportation staff to adhere to all safety procedures and consistently apply good judgment. Over the past week, school officials have actively investigated two serious school bus incidents, one involving a kindergarten student from Town Creek Elementary and the most recent involving a South Brunswick Middle School student.

The investigations into each incident have concluded. Brunswick County school officials have taken the following actions:

Town Creek Elementary bus driver Christopher Graham (date of hire September 20, 2004) and South Brunswick Middle bus driver Johnny Hooten (date of hire September 7, 2010) were both suspended without pay for two weeks effective September 19, 2011. Both employees are required to complete additional training prior to reinstatement. Training will be done in conjunction with a representative of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and Brunswick County Schools transportation department.

In light of the recent incidents Brunswick County transportation officials will petition the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction for a comprehensive review of our training program. Additionally, elementary principals have been asked to assign a teacher or teacher assistant to partner or buddy with each bus driver in the identification of each child rider on a daily basis.

Jessica B. Swencki
Director of Quality Assurance and Community Engagement

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