Parents not notified about Wayne Co. school bus shooting - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Parents not notified about Wayne Co. school bus shooting

Wayne County School District bus. Source: WDAM Wayne County School District bus. Source: WDAM
WAYNE COUNTY, MS (WDAM) -

A Wayne County mom said neither Clara Elementary School nor the Wayne County School District notified her about another student shooting at her children's school bus.

According to the mom, who wanted to remain anonymous, her children came home from school telling her another student on their bus was dropped off, and then fired at the bus.

"He shot at the bus, and he shot over the bus," she said her children explained. "As parents, we trust the school and the school district with our children everyday, and I really don't feel like they've handled it well at all. I feel like it is just like other things that have happened in our school district. The district swept it under the rug to keep us out of the news, and they think as parents we're not going to say or do anything about it."

WDAM 7 News' calls to the district were not returned, but Wayne County School District Superintendent Bobby Jones spoke to Wayne County Sheriff Jody Ashley. Jones said the incident happened several weeks ago and was handled by the Department of Human Services and school resource officers.

"We found out there was an isolated event that was, I think, three weeks ago involving a minor and a school bus," Ashley said. "They said at that time they could not discuss it because it has been handled with DHS. He'd heard the reports the bus had bullet holes. He said there's no bullet holes in the bus. You know, everybody's safe. They have handled this the way they thought was the best way to handle it, and kind of thinks it's kind of been blown out of proportion." 

Ashley said because his department was not called and did not investigate, he did not have many details about the incident. But he said the school resource officers, who he said are a Waynesboro police officer and an auxiliary sheriff's deputy, and the Department of Human Services does have jurisdiction to handle that kind of incident.

"They do have resource officers in the school, which is law enforcement," Ashley said. "They felt like they could handle this. When DHS gets involved, and I understand they are, they work the case too, and they have the authority over the juvenile. I'm sure if DHS is involved, they were called by the authorities there (because) something was not right."

Sean Dunlap, public information officer for the Wayne County Board of Supervisors, agreed the school district has authority over that kind of situation.

"With the school district, they have an internal police department, security force, and they're well within their prerogative to investigate anything of that nature," Dunlap said. "Where the county is concerned, unless we are notified through 911 or through action through the Sheriff's Department, we can't act on rumor."

The mom said, "If you go to school, and talk with any faculty about it, they say that it didn't happen. I mean, I have children that say it happened. I've talked to parent's whose children say it happened, and they're as outraged as I am."

She said it is not the investigation that outrages her as much as how she found out about it.

"Hearing it second hand from our kids and not being notified about anything from the school, it's horrible," she said.

Dunlap said, "How do you effectively notify the public of everything that's going on?"

That mom said it should not be any different from how the school alerts her to other changes.

"Any other time that something else happens, even if they're changing bus times arriving or something, they give us a one call. As parents, at least then we would know what was going on," she said. 

Ashley said based on the conversations he has had with the Wayne County School District, he understands the child accused of shooting at the bus was expelled, and Ashley does not expect any criminal charges to be filed.

The Wayne County mom said after years of issues with buses, she and several other parents are finding ways to keep their children from riding. 

"Those are our children," she said. "I mean, school officials) need to put themselves in our seat and say, 'Well if this was my child, what would I do?' or "How would I like to be informed?'"

Copyright WDAM 2016. All rights reserved.

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