Worth parents claim bus driver abuse - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Worth parents claim bus driver abuse

Nov. 5, 2004

Sylvester-- Some angry Worth County parents say their chilrdren are battered and bruised when they get off the school bus. The parents claim the driver disciplines kids by repeatedly slamming on his brakes to throw the kids from their seats. Friday, they went to the School board demanding action.

Janet Spurlin is one of a half dozen parents who are red hot over a Worth County bus driver they say is sending their young children home with bumps and bruises,  all in the name of discipline. 

 "He is slamming on the brakes and hurting our children and he is yelling at our children and the school board doesn't want to do any thing about it," says Mary Anne Clay.

Mary Anne Clay says her 8 and 10 year olds, who are students at Holly Middle get off the bus telling horror stories about how they were verbally abused by 51 year old bus driver Vance Sledge and how he intentionally slams on the brakes to keep students in line. 

 "She's got a laceration on the top of her head I took her to the neurologist on Wednesday after the incident on Tuesday and he says if she continues to hit her head on the bus she will go into epileptic seizure," says Clay.

"My 18 year old got was thrown from the seat into the floor with her leg bent behind her and got her toe bent up and today it is black and blue and bruised," says Joy Lee.

The parents met with the Worth County Superintendent and were told only that their allegations would be fully investigated. "We have been told that the video camera broken and the bus drivers has informed the children to tell the parents because they were not going to get a video," says Lee.

The superintendent declined an on camera interview but said he hopes to resolve the issue soon. It's action that can't come soon enough for these parents.

"We don't want the man to be fired from his job but want something done about how he treats these children," says Spurlin.  Two of the group of parents we talked to say they have taken their kids off of the bus route and the others say they are looking into other means of transportation to take the kids out of harm's way.

Slegde has been with Worth County schools for seven years but the board wouldn't confirm whether any complaints were filed in the past. The parents say they plan to file criminal charges against the driver.

posted at 6:00PM by scott.hunter@walb.com