Mathew Haag of the Dallas Morning News reports on a Plano Independent School District (ISD) parent who has claimed that the school district has retaliated against her son after she filed a complaint against a bus driver for spanking and choking him. This was captured on the Plano ISD bus’s survey camera.
In his article, “Plano ISD mom says school retaliated after she alleged son was spanked on bus,” Haag goes on to say that the mother, Jennifer Khonsari, said she was going to release the incriminating film to the media. I have linked to the video which is very blatant.
That very same day the school suspended Khonsari’s son, Kaleb, saying that he had made threats on an unrelated issue.
In watching the video there is no question that the driver, identified by Khonsari as Gail Atkins, performed the spanking and chocking. Kaleb is an annoying child from the film but apparently has been diagnosed with ADHD that causes hyperactivity.
In the film Kaleb, 13, is yelling and standing in the front of the bus. The driver tells him to be quiet and when he does not comply she pulls him across her lap and spanks him. This elicits laughing from Kaleb so Atkins pushes him back to his seat.
As would be expected, Plano ISD will not comment on the situation or will the driver Atkins who was quoted in Haag’s article as saying by telephone when reached, “I’m not interested in anything you have to ask or say,” and then she hung up.
Jennifer Khonsari admits that Kaleb provoked the driver but also says that doesn’t give the right to lay hands on the child — and she is right.
My father was a part-time charter bus driver, so after I retired, I wanted to drive a bus for a while. School districts are always short-handed so it was not hard to get trained.
I drove for awhile. Drivers have no rights and are given no way to control unruly children who, knowing this, push the envelope. This is why they are always looking for drivers. Sometimes a driver loses it. Under no circumstances can a child be touched even to break up a fight. You have to stand between them.
I remember in one case I had a book bag fly up the side of the bus and hit my arm while I was driving. It nearly caused an accident.
Still drivers cannot be allowed to administer punishment.
So, what is the answer?
An answer is a monitor on every bus who acts as a daily reporter and voice “turning kids in” and school districts who will be firm.
I believe at the base of this problem is the issue of busing. It has never proven to be valuable and thousand of bus routes daily costs cities millions of dollars that could be spent on what all school districts feel they must have-money
At this time Atkins is on paid leave and the investigation is ongoing.