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Call Collett: School district fails to follow-up on unwelcomed touching on school bus

Following unwelcomed touching on a Berkeley County school bus, parents say they are disappointed with how the school and district are handling their concerns.

News 2 decided not to identify the parents in an effort to protect the children involved.

The problems for the parents of a six-year-old Cane Bay Elementary School student started in September.

“She didn’t want to wear bows in her hair. She was coming home very upset,” the girl’s mother explained to News 2 in November when we launched our investigation.

After pressing their daughter for answers, she finally told them a boy on the bus kept touching her.

“A little boy was touching her all over, and she didn’t like it,” her mother explained.

In September the parents say they alerted the school. Initially the children were separated on different buses.  A month later, they were put back together on the same bus and forced to sit in the same seat.

The district’s Director of Transportation, Wes Fleming, said he was unaware of the situation until News 2 contacted the school district. He would not confirm when video of the incident was requested by the school, but he did confirm the school administration initially separated the students.

According to the school district, the children were seated together because drivers were out, and other drivers picked up extra kids.  Fleming said the driver had been aware of the initial incident and would get extra training.

The Director of the Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center says young kids have normal body curiosity parents should address.

“When it becomes concerning is when it becomes frequent or either of the kids, regardless of age, is uncomfortable with it,” Dr. Carole Swiecicki explained.  She says parents should open the dialogue at home.

“Parents are in a great position to help their kids,” she said.

She recommends parents address curiosity by explaining children have private parts, and it’s not ok for anyone to touch their private parts unless it’s the doctor or when the child is going to the bathroom.

And like the Cane Bay parents, she says watch for any changes in behavior or disposition.

“Establish communication,” she said by addressing the change in behavior and asking if something is happening.

After News 2 took the Cane Bay parents’ concern to the school district, the parents are relieved the children have not been placed together again.

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