Loudonville-Perrysville bus aide accused of shoving, cursing at preschooler

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LOUDONVILLE – A school bus aide was put on leave and then resigned after accusations by a parent that the aide manhandled a 4-year-old and cursed at the child.

Morgan Miles of Perrysville said her son was traumatized after the Nov. 2 incident on a Loudonville-Perrysville School District bus when he was riding home from preschool at R.F. McMullen Elementary.

More: Loudonville-Perrysville Schools anti-drug, trafficking programs reviewed

“That day,” Miles said, “my son had twisted around in his seat when the aide grabbed him by his throat … slammed him into his seat and told him to stop being a jackass.”

Miles said the aide cursed at her son, and there had been other instances when both the aide and bus driver used profanity toward the children.

“(My son) is now terrified to get back on the school bus,” Miles said. “The incident has made him a mess. He is fine at the preschool after I drive him there in the morning, but is traumatized about getting on the bus.”

Safety concerns on school buses

Superintendent Catherine Puster said the aide was on paid administrative leave while the school district investigates the matter, but has since resigned.

Catherine Puster

Since the pandemic we have experienced a rise in school bus incidents,” Puster said. “The problems specifically have taken place on two or three bus routes, so we decided to hire aides to back up the school bus driver on these routes.

“If is difficult for our drivers to drive the bus and maintain discipline at the same time,” Puster continued. “It becomes a safety issue.

Miles and her husband, Mitchell, attended the Nov. 15 board of education meeting and questioned the school board about why a video camera on the bus was not operating the day of the incident, according to Morgan Miles.

She said other children had recorded video “of the aide slamming another child in his seat.”

Puster acknowledged some “disciplinary issues” have taken place on the afternoon bus routes “when everybody is tired and ready to go home.”

“When children misbehave on a bus, we have conflicting issues,” Puster said. “If we discipline them, our recourse is to remove them from the bus, but we have found that when they aren’t on the bus, they don’t go to school, and these kids need to be in school.”

The superintendent said profanity should never be used by any school employee, and she called on parents to “reinforce school bus safety rules” with their children.

“Driving a school bus to get kids safely home is like driving a barge in a canal or river,” she said. “If a child gets out of his seat, it is possible he could be thrown into a windshield. It is a very dangerous situation.”

Miles said she filed a complaint with the Ashland County Sheriff's Office and has consulted an attorney, David Todaro of Wooster. A spokesperson for the Sheriff’s Office confirmed that charges have been filed and turned over to the Ashland County Prosecutor’s Office for review.

Reach the Times-Gazette at newsroom@times-gazette.com

On Twitter: @TimesGazette

This article originally appeared on Ashland Times Gazette: Parent: Loudonville-Perrysville bus aide cursed at my 4-year-old

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