Mother files lawsuit against Berkeley Co. School District claiming bus driver assaulted son for not wearing mask

Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 6:01 PM EDT
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BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - A woman has filed a lawsuit against the Berkeley County School District claiming a school bus driver assaulted her son for not wearing a mask on a school bus.

The suit also names the bus driver and the director of transportation for the district as defendants in the suit.

The woman’s attorneys said the incident happened at the Hammocks community in Cane Bay in May of this year and involved her 9-year-old son who goes to Cane Bay Elementary School. According to the suit, when the child, who was not wearing a mask, stepped onto the bus the driver yelled at him, telling the boy that if he didn’t have a mask that he couldn’t get on the school bus. The state required masks to be worn on school busses at this time.

Attorneys say the boy paused on the bus steps as the bus driver screamed at him about a facemask, and when he got to his seat, the bus driver allegedly grabbed the boy’s arm.

The boy described the action as a “hard squeeze” and that it hurt him.

The suit states that while the bus driver grabbed the boy, the bus driver yelled, “You can’t get on the bus!!! Stand right there! You can’t ride this bus without a mask!” According to attorneys, at that point the bus driver reached for a box of masks and handed it to the boy and let him go.

The suit states that the bus driver then shouted, ”You can do that at school, but you can’t do that here! So don’t come to the stop without a mask if you come to the stop with a mask you going back home!”

According to the suit, the child then went to his seat where he cried the entire trip to school. The suit states that the boy stopped riding the bus after the incident in fear of the driver who continued driving the bus after the boy’s parents made a complaint to the district and to its director of transportation and watched video of the incident.

The suit accuses the plaintiffs of negligence, assault, battery, false imprisonment, invasion of privacy, intentional/negligent infliction of emotional distress and conspiracy.

“The Defendants worked together to violate the Plaintiff’s rights through an illegal touching and grabbing, false imprisonment, invasion of privacy, and false reporting of the actual incident,” attorneys said in the lawsuit.

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