A mother is accusing a teacher of choking and sitting on her son on a Normandy school bus. Police are investigating, but said video from the bus tells a different story.
What’s not being debated is that the bus monitor — a teacher at Lucas Crossing Elementary — physically restrained this child, and those involved and investigating find the situation appalling.
"He has a bruise here, also on his neck,” said LaTonya Jones-Williams, gesturing to the bruises on her son, Victor.
She said the 11-year-old was riding the bus when the teacher on board tried to separate him from his brother, and send Victor to another seat. But the bus was approaching the kids' bus stop, so Victor refused.
Jones-Williams said that's when the teacher grabbed her son by the strings on his hoodie, choked him, pushed him to the floor and sat on him, in an effort to restrain him. Other parents said their kids told the same story.
Tracy Edwards said: "[My daughter] was like, 'The teacher's on the bus, choking a student, choking him and sitting on him.' I say 'Wait a minute, what do you mean?' She said literally, he had his hands around his neck.”
Parents ran to the bus stop. They, along with the bus driver, called 911.
"I'm hoping to get justice for my son," Jones-Williams said, "because that's pathetic that another grown man putting his hand on someone else's child. I believe he could have handled it another way."
Police aren't releasing the school bus surveillance footage at this point, but North County Polcie Cooperative Chief Tim Swope said it shows a chaotic scene. At the Wellston Place bus stop, the footage shows the students dumping a full can of garbage onto the teacher, and threatening to beat him with a broomstick. Another student hurled a heavy textbook at the faculty member.
All this, Swope said, and the teacher remained calm. Ultimately, he did restrain Victor by holding his sweatshirt.
Normandy Schools Spokesperson Sharifah Sims-Williams said the problems started before the bus even left school property. The kids were being so rowdy that the assistant principal assigned seats, and asked a teacher to ride the bus to supervise the kids. According to school district policy, it is within a teacher's right to physically restrain a student in situations like this. The Normandy Schools Collaborative policy on restraint can be viewed here.
Victor's family says they've retained an attorney and are considering filing a lawsuit against the teacher. Meanwhile, the police chief says he may pursue juvenile charges against some of these students.
The Normandy School District also announced Thursday that officers confiscated a gun from a student's desk at Lucas Crossing Elementary.
Parents and staff have been notified.
We're told the two incidents do not appear to be related.