Atlanta Parents, Bus Drivers Demand School Intervention for Misbehaving Riders

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Some parents and school bus drivers say bullying is getting out of control on several Atlanta Public School buses. They say administrators are not fixing the problem.

“APS doesn’t think it is appropriate to kick these children off the bus, they continue to target innocent children,” said parent Lashawn Leavine, who said her son is facing constant bullying by older students.

“They ball their fists up, and one time they punched my glasses off,” said Juzir Leavine, who is a second-grader . “They call us stupid, ‘You ugly. You gay.’”

“Why does he have to live in fear? ‘Oh my God, I don’t want to go to the bus, I don’t want to go to school,’” said Juzir’s mother.

Leavine is frustrated with how long it took administrators to deal with the problem.

“What they tell you is that you have to go through the chain of command, which takes weeks, yet these children constantly get on the bus,” Lashawn Leavine said.

“We need the support. We cannot drive the school bus when the kids are misbehaving and chaotic and hanging out the window,” said Jeramy Smith, an Atlanta Public School bus driver.

Smith showed Channel 2 Action News the emails he sent to administrators concerned about bullying, asking for bus monitors and warning, “Someone is going to get hurt.”

Smith said his concerns went largely unanswered, adding some schools are more receptive than others.

On Thursday, Smith said students threw rocks through his windows.

“Administrators need to sit down with school bus drivers and get the names of these students that keep giving us problems,” said Smith.

No one from APS returned our emails or calls, but we found an anti-bullying policy on its website saying all reports of bullying are taken seriously. The website also has a bullying form, for parents to fill out.

“The school bus needs to be safe, the driver needs to focus on the route and driving,” Smith said.