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Ohio School District Exonerates Bus Driver Following Investigation Into Alleged Segregation

An official at Stow-Munroe Falls City Schools in Summit County, Ohio told School Transportation News that a school bus driver responded “appropriately” in separating student riders, following allegations made by the mother of one of the students that the action constituted segregation by race.

The district launched an investigation last week after receiving the complaint, originally reported by Cleveland19 News. The mother claimed that the school bus driver forced black students to sit at the front of the bus and did not allow them to sit with other white kids at the back of the bus.

The mother contacted school district officials, who reportedly told her that seat assignments had changed due to behavioral problems on the bus. It was also stated that by law school districts have the right to sit students wherever they see fit.

Stow-Munroe Falls City Schools District Superintendent Tom Bratten said a review of the school bus video and an interview with the bus driver resulted in the determination that the district employee reacted appropriately ”following our district policies and procedures.”

“After the bus driver had reassigned seats, we have found no evidence that students were assigned seats based on their race, as was raised by one of our parents,” Bratten continued in the statement sent to STN on Tuesday. “We want to know about any such concerns and thank our parent for bringing this to our attention. We have talked with that parent about these concerns. As we previously said, the district does not condone discrimination or segregation in any form and will take timely, appropriate measures if any such allegations are substantiated.”

He added that the district investigation and review of the bus video showed unsafe student behavior, which included students standing and kneeling on seats, throwing trash out of windows, and stuffing trash into bus seats.

“On the next school day, the driver allowed students to keep their seatmates and assigned seats to maintain an orderly, safe atmosphere on the bus. Our review of the bus video from that day showed that students of different races were dispersed in seats throughout the bus and the students’ behavior was much improved,” Bratten concluded. “The safety of all our students in all situations, including while on our buses, is a primary concern and in this situation, our driver took appropriate actions to assure that safety.”


Related: Ohio Recognizes Importance of School Bus Safety
Related: Ohio Survey Indicates Pay is Leading Reason for Bus Driver Shortage
Related: Working Against Discrimination: One Transportation Leader’s Story
Related: Pearls of Wisdom – Tony Miller

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