Family searching for answers after girl’s death on school bus

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Submitted: Sat, 03/10/2012 - 4:50am
Updated: Mon, 03/12/2012 - 6:44pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The family of a little girl with special needs continues to mourn her death and search for answers. Jamiah Batts died on her school bus last month.

“You couldn’t not love her,” Jamiah’s mother Shantelle Colvin said. “She’d make your day. All she had to do was smile, and that was your day. You (were) happy for the rest of the day.”

Colvin says her daughter was a miracle baby. Jamiah had cerebral palsy. She died February 29 after being put on the bus to Rachel Freeman Elementary.

“I feel like there was some neglect,” Jamiah’s great aunt Alfredia McDonald said.

McDonald and Jamiah’s mom and dad, met with an assistant district attorney Friday to get more details about the investigation, but the toxicology reports and autopsy are not complete.

The family has many unanswered questions, like why was there not an adult monitor on the bus, and why was there not a camera on board.

In their time of grief, they say they find strength in Jamiah’s smile.

“She is going to be missed,” Jamiah’s father Marvin Batts said. “She won’t be forgotten.”

When the facts are known, Jamiah’s family hopes to make some changes. They even have plans to push for changes in state law about the way special needs children should be handled and monitored on a school bus.

“Someone dropped the ball, and when it comes down to special needs children, there is a lot that you have to consider,” McDonald said.

Although at this time, investigators do not believe the incident to be criminal, the family says they still plan to take legal action.

Jamiah was not living with her parents at the time of her death. Instead she was in a group home.

Her funeral is scheduled for Friday afternoon.


  • Parent says:

    I know that many will be angry that I wrote this, however something about this does not add up. If you wanted safety for your child, why put them in a group home? it does not add up. Another thing, if her safety was such a concern, why did you not drive your child to and from school? Yes, your angry and yes this is sad, but suing the school district for her death is not going to bring her back and another law we need like a hole in the head. How about parents get involved and be there for their children? This child’s well being was your responsibility no the schools. I am just wondering who paid for her daily needs?

  • guesty says:

    They are searching for a quick payday.

  • RL says:

    hopefully the family understands that this is a time for mourning and remembrance. Seems like more of blaming and finger pointing.

  • Guest28451 says:

    first one person says she dumped her in a group home another says DSS kidnapped the child and put them in the home.. Which is it?? Sadly I believe its more likely the later. The DSS loves to operate under Hillary Clinton’s rule of it takes a Village to raise a child. Ive seen it first hand at times where DSS takes children supposedly for their own good and instead of them ending up better off they are moved from home to home with no stability and use any excuse to kidnap children from their parents.. Im not saying its true in every case but I fear more often then not DSS hijacks children who belong at home and put them in the system and then end up statistics and end up in group homes or worse like the supposedly psychiatric facility in Leland which is nothing more then a step up from Juvenille Detention. Most of the kids there and pumped full of meds to get them to “comply” or worse they get assaulted by wanna be jailers and nothing is done.. I dont for one minute believe kids are worse now its a case of a massive plot to turn our kids into good little socialist cogs. If they question authority or question anything they are punished and treated like criminals (like the story of the girl who was handcuffed and dragged to Juvy for tryign to go get her jacket out of her locker). This is getting out of hand. In fact the DSS wont let ya punish your children but if they dont act the way they approve of they just shove dangerous anti-pyschotics down their throat which result in major weight gain and other side effects, especially when the reality is very very few have legitimate pyschological issues compared the those who are having pills shoved down their throat. Pills arent the answer to discipline children. Love and attention with proper discipline applied in appropriate measures is the answer..

  • someone who cares says:

    Please know that you all are in our thoughts and prayers. Know that no one understands how hard it is to have a special needs child. Let not the world judge you, but let HIS WORD guide you. I am sorry that your beautiful baby has left us. Know that she has touched many.

    DON’t let the school system get away with what they did not do for your daughter! Know that you are doing the right thing!! GIVE YOUR CHILD A VOICE!!

    Prayers & love for the family

  • Guest123 says:

    The only neglect here is that her parents were to sorry to take care of her themselves. They will be filing a civil suit but don’t know against who yet? This is an absolute tragey to lose a young beautiful child. At least wait for all of the investigation and autopsy results before threatening to sue someone. Just looking for a payday. She is now in God’s loving arms…. but should have been in her parents loving arms while on earth. RIP dear Jamiah.

  • Guest55455 says:

    I don’t know the whole story. But I would sure know every detail before I said even one word about the family, about the girl, or about any thing that happen. The only thing I know for sure is that a family lost a child and deserves this be taken into consideration before anyone passes judgement. I don’t have a clue as to why this child was in a group home and to be honest it is not my business, so I will not judge this family because of this. People before you judge, know all the facts. My prayers go out to this family in the lost of a child.

  • Guest112121 says:

    This mom loved her child so much she dumped her off at a group home, please!!! This lady will now try to benefit for the loss of this little girl. Parents like this make me sick!!! They seem to be making plans for this or for that, why didn’t they have the child at home. There are plemty of children with c.p. or other disabilities and thier parents dont dump them off

  • Guestdump says:

    Why is it ignorant people ever open their mouth except to feed their gluttonous addiction to sticking their foot in their own mouth?

  • SW says:

    I do feel bad for the family because the loss of a child is an extreme burden to bear. However, why is it only now an issue that there were not cameras on the bus or an attendant? Was this the girl’s first day at Rachel Freeman. I think not. I think if it was that big of a concern for the parents, then it should have been addressed at the beginning of the school year & their top priority for their daughter. I think the parents are looking for someone to blame & trying to get a monetary settlement out of this. As the child’s dr stated she probably threw & aspirated her own vomit. This is a tragedy & could have happened anytime & anywhere with her medical condition. I am expecting to see an article soon stating the parents are suing the group home or the school. Sad.

  • Guest45 says:

    So you couldn’t take care of your MR child. So you lost your kid to DSS and you didn’t care for them now all the sudden you care. Right…. anything for a lawsuit is how it is today. Try getting a job instead of using your childs death for a lawsuit.

  • Guestdebb says:

    Are you serious? This lady just loss her child and you have the nerve to claim she didn’t love her. That just goes to show how ignorant you are. Just because a child is not in the care of their parents does not mean they didn’t love her. I am a foster parent and there are different cicumstances that warrant the removal of children from their parents. Let’s at least give this family time to grieve before posting negative comments.God has earned an Angel. Rest on baby girl.

  • Brian says:

    I agree. I’d like to hear how often she visited with her daughter at the group home, at school, and how active she was in caring for her and helping out with her care and school progress. Any monetary settlement that she might get should be offset by what the taxpayers have spent (medicaid) to care for her child.

  • Guesttttttttt says:

    There is no question that Mia was loved by many, many, people. Losing custody of a child does not mean that you don’t love them. Sometimes a parent is just unable to meet the needs of their child. I do not think they should profit from her loss in the least, but I do hope changes are made to the standards on the bus. I worked in special educatin and there is a monitor on those buses 9 times out of ten. I view the rule about it being in their IEP as a loophole for the school board when they are understaffed. Hopefully this will close that loophole.

  • Guest0222 says:

    This family needs to mourn the loss of their child but why are they planning to already take legal action? And what circumstances would a child need to be in dss custody?

  • Guest111 says:

    I am sorry for the loss of this child. However, she isn’t buried yet and the family is already planning to take legal action, to get monies, no doubt. The child was placed on the bus by someone and that someone knew there wasn’t a monitor on the bus. If there is someone who dropped the ball it would be who ever put her on the bus knowing it didn’t have a monitor. Again, the child isn’t buried and here we go… lawsuit, lawsuit lawsuit. That, in itself, is disgusting. This child’s death shouldn’t explode dollar signs in her mother and dad’s eyes or her great aunt. None of them were even taking care of the child. She must not have been that special to them on a day to day basis but in death. . . well, they see a fortune in monies coming their way.

  • FAMILY OF MIA says:


  • GuestJ82 says:

    You are all ignorant! Do any of you have an inside view of what is going on within this family, why the child ended up in DSS’s care, or what the school staff is going through; because if you don’t, you should all shut up and resist the urge to comment. The only thing you people need to be doing right now is to pray for healing instead of passing judgement.

    I say these things because I do have an insight on all 3 topics above. Sometimes, DSS makes rash decisions, keep that in mind. The staff is hurting, terribly. Mainly because the nurse didn’t do CPR in her wheelchair and that statement hasn’t been defended, nor corrected. And this mother loved her child very very much. But, you people just want to pass judgement and say she’s a gold digger. If your child died on the bus, you’d want to sue everyone and their brother, mark my words. No, it doesn’t bring them back, but it makes the parents feel as though they are trying to make a difference.

    So, if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it. Heaven has a new angel in the past week, let’s celebrate that and pray for healing.

  • Guesto10 says:

    I wonder where all of the concerned family members were when DSS removed the child and was trying to find a placement? I am sure that there was much family love for this child, but not enough to properly take care of her. All of their comments suggest that they will be suing someone. I wish they showed this much concern when the child was alive. I hope this mom had her tubes tied!

  • Guestdh says:

    Yeah..the same woman that spends OUR tax money to go all over the country to conference for her “education”…who does not work, but lives in a VERY nice apartment, and has all the time in the world to be of so much help is the one pointing on the issues of others! LORD HELP US! These folks had their check..I mean child taken away from them because of their actions..and they want to get up in a camera and act like that with a woman who has been abusing the system for 30 plus years! It is a tragedy the child died…that I mourn..but I mourn the lives of these people more and what they do to harm those who are TRULY needy….#makingmystomachcrawl

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