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Bus Driver Suspension for Hitting Student Ends
WEST LIBERTY SALEM -- A school bus driver will be back behind the wheel Monday after serving an 11 day suspension for hitting a student on the bus. While in the West Liberty Salem Elementary school parking lot last month, bus driver Mandy Randall tried to get a students attention for facing the wrong direction, but called him by the wrong name. When he didn't respond, she did.
"She took her seat-belt off came over to my seat and hit me in the back of the head," said the nine-year-old boy. We are protecting the his identity as well as his mom's, who says it took a few days before she found out.
She asked, "What made you finally tell me that she had done that to you?"
"Because after that she kept yelling at me, so I got tired of her yelling at me so I told you guys," her son responded.
Mom called the school district. After watching the surveillance video, Superintendent Kraig Hissong met with Randall, the student, and other witnesses. He suspended Randall and required she see a psychologist at her own expense.
"I think she made a split-second error of judgment. She was trying to get the students attention based on what we see. basically she's been reprimanded and knows she can never put a hand on a child in anyway," said Hissong.
"I would say lapse of judgment is an understatement," said mom. "I don't hit my children therefore I don't think anyone else should hit my children."
We got a copy of the suspension notice from the district to Mrs. Randall. It cites two different reasons for her 11 day suspension without pay. Number one the incident itself and number two the fact that she never told the district about it.
"The goal of any type of discipline with employees is to make sure they understand the significance of it and to make sure it doesn't happen again. This employee certainly knows this was serious and we don't have a feeling that it would happen again," said Hissong.
"An 11 days suspension for hitting a student, it infuriates me," said mom. "I'm supposed to trust that my children can go to and from school and be safe to school while they're at school on the way home from school and now I have to wonder everyday."
Randall does have a clean record with the district and the child did not have any lasting physical injuries. When she goes back to work Monday she will be assigned a different route with different kids. Mom has contacted the Champaign County Sheriff's to see if she can press charges.
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