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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — News that a South Brunswick Middle School student was cut on the eyelid by a student with nail clippers on a school bus is not the first incident involving Brunswick County buses that’s made the news in the past week. Some parents are worried it won’t be the last.

In addition to the student injured Friday, we told you last week about the five-year-old dropped off at the wrong stop and left to roam around behind the Walmart in Leland.

One parent we talked with today says there is a larger root problem, and she wants it handled before it goes too far.

“I don’t want some stranger that’s not even educated to be around children driving my children to and from school,” Amanda Faatz said. “That scares me.”

Faatz says Brunswick County Schools can’t get their act together when it comes to school buses. Since the beginning of the school year, her kids have had four different bus drivers… Monday, the bus didn’t show up at all.

Faatz says drivers have told her two boys to shut up, cursed at them, and told student they were not allowed to open the windows on hot days. And that, she says, is just the beginning of the problems.

“They have been early, way early. Earlier than what I was told to be out there. And they have been late. Later than what I was told to be out there. I’ve missed the bus with the kids. And they’ve come home over the past week not comfortable with the bus drivers anymore,” Faatz said.

The Brunswick County school system says it will not stand for any more issues involving their buses. District spokeswoman Jessica Swencki says if parents have any issues, they need to contact administrators so they can look into things.

“Because we do have standard that we want to run every route, every day with perfection,” Swencki said. “We are going to continue to examine our practices. We are going to continue to vigilantly investigate any claim or any concern of any parent has.”

Faatz says something needs to be done, and soon, because she does not want things to get out of hand like the other situations in the last week.

Faatz says she thinks the problems may have something to do with the new staggered start times for brunswick county schools. Swencki says the new schedule has allowed the school system to hire more people, and she does not think this is the problem.


“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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29 Comments on "Bus incidents mount in Brunswick County"

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2015 years 11 months ago

I have another concern, myself. We are not talking about a small child here, we have in this school district a middle school child who is not aware of the harm toe nail clippers can do, whether in his hands or someone else’s. Furthermore, he does not seem to know how easily an eye can be hurt. Neither does his ‘friend,’ so we have not one this bad off in their developmental behavior progression. Perhaps, instead of momma shouting to the roof top, she might need to spend a little more time informing her son of the evils of the… Read more »

2015 years 11 months ago

What all fail to realize is the beauracracy that rules Brunswick County Schools, or more namely all those that are incapable of educating the kids in the buildings so they are moved into the central office and made directors, are the ones that set these employees and children up for failure. One director failed to plan provisionally for snags in this plan he just said “of course dual routes save a million dollars, I am Super Director I can make it happen,” with little to no thought on the logistics. Another sends an e mail that instructs schools,… Read more »

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2015 years 11 months ago

Be assured that driving a bus and monitoring a bus load of students at the same time is next to impossible. This is the true root of the problem. I do not believe that there will be a lot of improvement unless there is a way to place another adult on the buses. How is that possible with the shortage of funds the school system is experiencing???? Possible parent/community volunteers????

2015 years 11 months ago

The bus driver either need to be trained more or have a extra person riding the bus to help them out. The buses just seem to get worse and worse . I mean in the last few years alone , high school bus my daughter rides the bus had a can with urine in rolling around one year , then last year they had a girl giving a boy oral sex in the back of the bus the buses are not safe and its like no one cares every time I call the school board they always say they will… Read more »

2015 years 11 months ago

The cause of this is having too many different drivers running these bus routes. The school system has cut overtime for their teacher assistants, so the same drivers can’t drive buses everyday. These things will continue to happen because with different drivers daily there will be no consistency. They have cut the pay of almost all assistants while they screw up the transportation of the students while they enjoy the same pay they have always had. Maybe with the money they save they can hire someone who can speak English to make their automated calls to… Read more »

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