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Wayne County parents upset with driver in school bus fight

Posted December 7, 2010

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— Some parents are blaming a school bus driver for not stepping in soon enough to stop a violent fight that broke out between two sixth-graders on a school bus in Wayne County. 

It started as an argument between two Grantham students, and then threats were exchanged. Soon, one of the girls punched the other, while students cheered them on.

Tami and Ryan Lehman's daughter was on the bus when it happened. She's friends with the girl who was punched.

Tami Lehman said the video brought her to tears.

“She could have been killed. She was stomped by that person,” Tami Lehman said.

There are many things about this fight that the Lehmans say make them furious, including the bus driver's response.

“If the bus driver had good order and discipline, that wouldn't have happened,” Ryan Lehman said.

Wayne County Schools spokesman Ken Derksen said the bus driver did not hear the earlier arguing but took action as soon as it got physical.

“She did exactly what she needed to do by pulling off to a safe location and telling the students to break up the fight, and they were able to do that without her having to get physically involved,” Derksen said.

“I feel there was enough yelling and screaming in the back of that bus that it just didn't concern her,” Ryan Lehman said.

A video of the fight, which ended up on YouTube, shows two girls arguing for more than three minutes before the first punch is thrown. Other students can be seen watching, recording the fight on cell phones and cheering them on.

At the urging of several parents, the video has since been pulled from YouTube.

Parents upset with driver after school bus fight Parents upset with driver after school bus fight

The Lehmans said the video highlights a bigger problem.

“It’s awful, and something has got to be done because, before you know it, some kid around here is going to kill themselves due to bullying,” Tami Lehman said.

Derksen admits that fights sometimes occur.

“Despite the bullying prevention programs, despite the character education programs, fights do occasionally happen at a school,” he said.

School officials said they are not allowed to comment on specific punishments but said the incident has been investigated and handled according to policy.

Concerned parents told WRAL News that they think the bus driver should be held accountable too.

94 Comments

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  • courtneygurganus Dec 10, 2010

    if people are up here commenting on this then you must really dont have a life

  • courtneygurganus Dec 10, 2010

    will you people already drop it

  • slimgirl04 Dec 9, 2010

    This is not a race issue this is kids, living life, people act like this is some unheard of situation...they both will probably experience this again before they graduate or this will be a learning experience. I don't condone violence but let these kid live and learn somtimes, it may be good for them in the future to be able to use there judgement and make better decisions in these situations.

  • jscletsplay1002002 Dec 9, 2010

    Lets see,

    School Bus Driver = School Bus Driver

    and Security Guard/Bouncer/Police Officer/Jail House officer = Security Guard/Bouncer/Police Officer/Jail House Officer

    I dont see how they are linked,

    I guess from now on School Bus Drivers have to be equiped with tazers, a badge, and a gun?

  • whistler411 Dec 9, 2010

    Tamilehman refuses to put any blame on the caucasian girl who so clearly was instigating the incident. I wonder why that is. And she wasn't able to complete the training to be a bus monitor. How incredibly convenient.

  • NCAries Dec 9, 2010

    what ever happened to "it takes a village to raise a child".--kevingreene70

    The trust was broken...molesters, abusers, neglectors and all manner of ills invaded the character of the villagers and village leaders.

  • tammylehman Dec 9, 2010

    No, its not totally the bus drivers fault. HOWEVER the whole point for those quoting my husband and I was that there are a lot of bullying going on that needs to STOP. Today my daughter let me know that the girls are back in school and the one that beat up the other one is threatning her in the hall and she has been verbally threatened about being killed. Really anyone that is a mom out there would be just as upset as I am. YES I knew that this would happen however it shouldn't. Its a place to learn and to grow not a place that kids need to go to and be picked on. I have offered to be a volunteer on the bus to help also applied to drive that bus however a ER took me out of state and I wasnt able to complete the test needed.

  • Stephinnc Dec 9, 2010

    if you think being a bus driver is so easy maybe you should try it. Many kids have no respect for the bus drivers, I have driven a bus I have been there. But not all students are like this, but many have no respect for school employees at all.

  • Stephinnc Dec 9, 2010

    nancimae2 very good comment "Bus driving is not an easy job. Bus drivers get in trouble if they try to discipline the kids, they get in trouble if they don't discipline the kids. Bus drivers can't teach that which is not taught at home."

  • Stephinnc Dec 9, 2010

    I agree with yesIamapirat "I would like for Ryan Lehman to drive a bus so he can teach other bus drivers how to avoid this."

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