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Sharpsburg Cop Resigns Over School-Bus Traffic Stop

Posted March 3, 2008

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— A Sharpsburg police officer who resigned over the weekend in the midst of controversy involving a school-bus traffic stop had no probable cause to pull over the bus, his former chief said Monday.

Police Chief Barry S. Bissette said an internal investigation found Officer Travis Parker did not follow proper procedure when he stopped the bus on Feb. 22. It was transporting students from Southern Nash High School.

Bissette said Parker pulled the bus over after a student made faces and an obscene gesture at him. Parker's intention was to remove the student from the bus and lecture him about respect and manners, Bissette said.

As he put the first student in the front seat of his patrol car, Parker said others on the bus started yelling and using profanity. He said he decided to go back on the bus and remove two other students.

Parker charged one of those students, Dessie Lewis, 18, with disturbing the peace. Bissette said Monday that charge would be dropped.

"I feel, personally, that Officer Parker had good intentions in mind," Bissette said.

Lewis and her brother, Derrick Lewis, 15, whom Parker also took off the bus, claim Parker stopped the bus for no reason, got on the bus and started bullying students.

"When the bus driver asked him what's going on, he just pointed to his gun and didn't say nothing," Dessie Lewis said.

Her father, Joe Lewis, said he was furious about what happened, adding that Parker was wrong to do what he did.

"You don't stop a bus and open the back door up and snatch no kid out of there," he said.

The bus driver also resigned, citing stress from the incident. Students on the bus were sent to talk with a school counselor about it.

123 Comments

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  • 3forme Mar 5, 11:50 a.m.

    washing some police cars on summer saturdays might slow down these student's behavior... maybe not ..discipline may scar their innocent young lives..

  • Adelinthe Mar 5, 10:20 a.m.

    This cop broke his own training, according to his superiors.

    The way to handle this would have been to stop the bus, ask the driver the student's names and report them to the school office.

    Would that have done any good? Probably not!

    But making them clean the school restrooms for a week might - like in the old days.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • Adelinthe Mar 5, 10:17 a.m.

    FatCat - " do...My 6'5" 310 lb. high school principal taught respect, VERY directly, usually with the assistance of a series of large 36-to-44 inch solid oak devices that had 1/2 inch holes drilled in them to reduce the air resistance as they were swung."

    That's not respect, it's fear, but I do understand what you're saying. I believe paddlings should be brought back to schools, but only under certain circumstances, such as being administered in the presence of 2 or more adults, counsellors or teachers, and if the information regarding the paddling is sent home to the parents afterwards.

    I believe it's the only way to keep kids from getting bullied, beaten or killed at schools.

    Removing corporal punishment only put the innocents at risk...sometimes serious risk.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • FatCat Mar 5, 9:58 a.m.

    "I do know that you can't 'teach' respect, at least not directly..."

    I do...My 6'5" 310 lb. high school principal taught respect, VERY directly, usually with the assistance of a series of large 36-to-44 inch solid oak devices that had 1/2 inch holes drilled in them to reduce the air resistance as they were swung. Proudly displayed on his office wall,they had names, and you had "talks" with them for such incidents...'Betsy' for the girls, 'Earl' for younger boys, and 'Bubba'. You might toy with 'Earl', but NEVER mess with 'Bubba'.

    The lessons occurred in the hallway, during classes when it was quiet and the "CRACK"s and their corresponding billows of agony would echo and resonate throughout the school. No one was 'injured'...just momentarily "woken up". Yes, there may have been some life-long resentments for those receiving such "talks", but the other 400+ students that simply "heard" the lessons echoing throughout the hallways probably benefited the most. Not a chance today.

  • Unfair Moderators Stink Mar 5, 9:16 a.m.

    I think supporting what these students did to instigate this situation instead of supporting the officer's efforts to put a little fear of God into them for disrespecting law enforcement is a big factor as to why so many of our younger generation are a bunch of pampered, spoiled, disrespectful brats. And to the father who is defending his son's actions instead of taking him behind the woodshed for a little man-to-man -- shame on you for not holding your son to a higher standard and expecting him to make you proud whether at home or away from home. Especially away from home!!

  • grenlyn1 Mar 4, 6:42 p.m.

    It just now occured to me why the teachers would take the time to call me in the evenings and tell me how well behaved my children were. I use to wonder if there was a hidden adjenda behind it but now I know how rare it is for students to respect adults. I am proud of the way I raised my children and folks.. I gotta tell ya.. I didn't have to beat it into them.. I modeled it!!!!

  • redneck39 Mar 4, 6:41 p.m.

    the officer should have stopped the bus , got the childs named that flipped him the bird. then contacted the parents and let them deal with it. if they didnt then it should be the parents in the police car and given a talkin to. of course the kids are goin to say he boarded the bus for no reason. just a lil more evidence why this country is goin downhill if not already hit bottom.

  • whatusay Mar 4, 5:43 p.m.

    think1st...you have the best input on this that I have seen. Everyone else is against the policeman. No one is considering the actions of the student who shot him the bird, which started this incident. Everyone says the police over re-acted. I say he did not. I also say the chief over re-acted by condeming his actions. The young thug responsible for all of this should have to stand in front of other students and tell them why they should not repeat his actions. An 18 year old should know better. Who was he trying to impress??

  • think1st Mar 4, 5:30 p.m.

    What is the world coming to? This is a sad day for society. If that was my child that made a face at a police officer, he would have to stand in school for a couple of days because sitting would be too painful. This says a lot for the Chief of Sharpsburg, way to fight for your officer. Any officer will agree that this situation was not handled right, but this should be a learning experience for the officer, not the end of his career. This is why we build more prisons Mr. Lewis. No disipline at home, at school, and no disipline by the police! I wish you well, but it's not looking good.

  • Through a glass darkly Mar 4, 5:21 p.m.

    "But, please address how these young adults will ever learn any acceptable social skills." Fair enough question. Unfortunately, I don't know how this is done. These punks have a social group that will undo just about any teaching from parents, teachers, etc. The best thing a parent can do is to 'arrange' for decent friends. It may also be the hardest.

    I do know that you can't 'teach' respect, at least not directly. That's why 'values education' is such a failure. Even under the best of circumstances, the method this cop used is counter-productive. As it is, he's made things worse.

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