BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A mother was angry Friday afternoon, after she claims a student put her daughter in a compromising position.
The mother says this is not her first time running into issues with the school system; however, she says a fight with another West Bladen High School student is what did it for her.
“I’m hurt,” Angie Parnell said. “I’m angry. I’m disappointed. The system has failed me.”
She says her 16-year-old with special needs has faced problems since she started middle school.
“My daughter has an IEP,” Parnell said. “Her IEP was not followed properly when she was in middle school, and due to that IEP not being followed properly when she was a student at Bladenboro Middle School. She has actually owed she over 200 hours of compensatory services from Bladen County School Systems.”
An IEP is an written legal document that lays out the program of special education, supports and services kids need to be successful in the classroom.
She says her daughter was bullied. Parnell says a student kicked her daughter as she was walking off the bus.
“It caused her knees to buckle,” Parnell said. “She almost fell.”
Parnell says her daughter made a comment out of self-defense, which led to another student following her off the bus.
“They were both let off in this yard, and a fight began,” Parnell said.
Parnell was at work when she received a call from her daughter crying over the phone Wednesday afternoon. Parnell says the bus driver saw it all happen and did not stop it.
“The bus driver drove off, continued his route on this particular street, let some kids off the bus at home, and he turned around and picked the child up,” Parnell expressed.
She tells WWAY she expected more from the bus driver.
“Proper protocol, if a fight occurs on the school bus, is that the bus driver is to pull over to the shoulder of the road, call 911, and wait for law enforcement to arrive,” Parnell said.
WWAY reached out to Bladen County Schools who released this statement:
“With regards to a bus incident that took place on the afternoon of March 4, we have fully investigated the actions of the bus driver and the students.
While general statue laws prevent a school system from being able to disclose certain information as it relates to employees and students, we are able to share the following:
The Bladen County Schools Code of Conduct book, which is given to all students at the beginning of the school year (and is located on the district website) outlines conduct and safety rules for bus passengers. It states, ‘The behavior and the safety of the passenger is the responsibility of the parent/guardian until the student boards the bus and after the student exits the bus at his or her scheduled bus stop.’
Two students were involved in a fight after exiting the bus at a designated stop. So that no other students could exit or enter the bus, and as a safety measure, the bus driver closed the door, drove approximately 10 yards, and stopped the bus to call 911. Due to the bus being near the Bladen/Robeson county lines, the 911 call was routed to Robeson County. 911 attempted to re-route the call back to Bladen.
While waiting for the 911 call to re-route and law enforcement to arrive, one of the two students that exited the bus came back to the bus asking to get back on; the driver allowed the student to get back on the bus. Law enforcement had not arrived at this point so the driver immediately drove back to the school, dropping the student off with school administrators.
We are not able to share specific discipline measures taken with the student/s but can share that the Bladen County Schools Code of Conduct book lists fighting as a Level II violation. A Level II violation carries with it a 5 to 10-day suspension with a possible recommendation for long-term suspension.
The Bladen County Sheriff’s department has investigated the 911 call using the call transcript, interview with the driver, and students. The sheriff’s department determined that the actions the driver took were appropriate and correct.
Conduct and safety rules for school bus passengers found in the Bladen County Schools Code of Conduct book details that “the driver of a school bus subject to the direction of the principal shall have complete authority over and the responsibility for the operation of the bus and the maintaining of good order and conduct upon such bus, and shall report promptly to the principal any misconduct upon such bus or disregard or violation of the driver’s instruction by any person riding upon such bus (GS. 115C-245(b).”
The bus driver has been assigned a different bus until both the Bladen County Sheriff’s Department and Bladen County Schools complete the investigation.'”
Parnell says her daughter has not been back to school since the fight. She says the goal is to raise awareness for other parents whose children may experience similar problems with the Bladen County school system.