NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A mother says school administrators and the school district are not taking a situation seriously after her son was reportedly pushed off a school bus by another student.
Accord to a North Charleston police report, a bus driver stated a 4-year-old Mary Ford Elementary student was pushed off the school bus by another student while it was stopped at Azalea Drive and Elgent Street, causing him to hit his head on the ground. The incident involved two Mary Ford Elementary students on Bus 416, according to the Charleston County School District.
Officers say they reviewed the surveillance footage of the incident and it shows an individual pushing the victim off the bus, but doesn’t show the victim falling. The report added that officers made contact with the principal of Mary Ford Elementary and she informed authorities that a meeting is scheduled with parents of both individuals.
The child was transported by EMS for the injuries above his eye.
Junior, 4, is currently at home healing from his injuries. His mother, Shakayla Smith, says she is outraged by the situation.
“I just don’t feel like nobody cares,” Smith said.
In a one-on-one interview with News 2, Smith said her frustration began last Thursday when she got a phone call saying her son was injured on the bus.
Smith’s original thought was “He didn’t fall, something else happened, his face looks too bad be just a fall,” she said.
Two hours later, Smith said she learned from NCPD that her son was actually pushed.
“I was upset,” she said.
Smith’s sister, Johnte Sparkman, said she saw the surveillance video shortly after the incident occurred when she arrived on scene.
“Before even getting on the bus, I saw the little boy kicking or punching the little kids as the’re walking past,” Sparkman said.
Smith said she tried speaking to the principal, but couldn’t have a face to face meeting until four school days later.
“She didn’t speak to me, but she had a meeting with the other parents the same day my son was pushed,” Smith said. “I just don’t understand.”
Smith also said the school will not let her see the full surveillance video of the incident. Smith and Sparkman believe the principal did not follow protocol.
“She didn’t seem like she was concerned,” Smith said. ” She was more concerned with leaving the bus loop to get home. She wanted it to come off as it was two kids playing. That wasn’t what it was. The teacher called me Monday and labeled the boy as aggressive. She said the boy is aggressive in class.”
Sparkman said, “I felt like off top the principal was messy in regards to the situation. Why would you give another parents another parent’s phone number?”
“I don’t feel like they handle situations the way that they should and I also feel like they try and cover up situations,” Sparkman said. “If you don’t have anything to hide, for one you should be able to peak openly in regards to the situation. You should be able to show her the full clip of what happened you should be able to address the situation right away.”
Sparkman and Smith say Mary Ford Elementary’s school principal gave Smith’s phone number to the mother of the other student.
“To me the disciplinary action is she gave the mom my number and the mom has been trying to make it right,” Smith said. “She wants to send money and she wants to meet up and I just don’t understand why my number was given out.”
Sparkman is calling for the principal’s resignation.
“The principal from Mary Ford needs to fired period,” Sparkman said. “She is very unprofessional, she does not know how to run a school at all. If you are going based upon protocol make sure you follow it all the way through. There should not be any grey or black areas, you should be able to follow everything, so for her to give out someone’s person cell phone number, if you wanted to handle it the right way you should have called both parents into a meeting at the school. “
News 2 reached out to the Charleston County School District and requested to conduct an interview with Mary Ford Elementary’s school principal. The district declined, but sent the following statement.
Charleston County School District released the following statement on the incident:
Charleston County School District is aware of an incident involving two Mary Ford Elementary students on bus 416 this past Thursday. The North Charleston Police Department was notified and one student was transported by EMS. The matter was investigated by both law enforcement and school administrators, and discipline was handled per District protocol.
Smith and Sparkman believes the district’s protocol wasn’t enough.
“I feel like there wasn’t any disciplinary action to this child and there wasn’t any,” Sparkman said. “He wasn’t suspended from school, he wasn’t suspended from the bus, so it’s basically like he gets a get out of jail free card.”
Sparkman and Smith believe this was a case of bullying that needs to be further vetted.
“Bullying starts at home,” Sparkman said. ” As parents you have to be on your kids. Nobody sends their kids to school to get bullied and nobody wants their child to be a bully so therefore it has to start at home.”
“From me graduating out of CCSD, bullying has always been a problem,” Smith said. “Nobody takes it serious at all and that should be at the top of the list.”
Smith has removed Junior from Mary Ford Elementary School.