BOE blasted by public at meeting Monday

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The Brantley County Board of Education took it on the chin during its regular meeting Monday as bus drivers, parents and students complained about the loss of transportation department director Wiley Crews, some of them going so far as to call the board corrupt.

But it didn’t stop there.

Another student complained about the treatment of another bus driver who resigned after verbal abuse from students on his bus went unpunished, and the mother of a student allegedly sexually molested on a school bus complained that no action has been taken other than to remove the offender from the bus for a few days after she reported the incident to the transportation department.

Board member David Herrin appeared to take the brunt of the driver anger, with one former driver implying it was his fault that Crews resigned.

Mary Gregor said she had reviewed video of previous board meetings in which Herrin repeatedly berated Crews over his decision to purchase an oversized tow truck to bring disabled buses back to the bus garage.

Herrin apparently also felt he was targeted by those who spoke, because he asked for a chance to speak.

“Some things have been said and I think I deserve a chance to respond.”

He was the only board member who asked to speak.

But Herrin’s response was not aimed so much to the comments made at the meeting as they were about an article that appeared several weeks ago in the Enterprise.

He read part of that article aloud, but not before pointing out “it was in the Brantley Enterprise so you can take it for what it’s worth,” then asked Crews if it was true.

Crews said yes.

Herrin also pointed out that the board’s handling of the resignation had nothing to do with anyone being kin to anyone else, an apparent reference to rumors that his friendship with someone related to the bus driver whose actions ultimately led to the transportation director’s resignation may have had an impact on the handling of the case.

But Herrin said the board never had a chance to weigh in on the issue because it was handled by superintendent Anthony Smith who determined that while the driver did fail to engage the emergency brake when loading and unloading students, a violation of state law, and often drove the bus with one hand on the steering wheel and the other holding a cup of coffee, those actions did not require her termination.

Board chairman Dot Hickox told the Enterprise last week  the issues had been addressed, but board personnel policy prevented her from divulging details.

Crews was allowed to join the board in executive session Monday but the board took no action on returning.

In another matter, a mother who claims her daughter was molested on a school bus said she reported the incident to the transportation department a couple of months ago and no action has been taken against the student she says committed the assault, except that he was removed from the bus for a few days.

Hickox directed her to bring the matter to Smith.

And finally one other student complained that a bus driver had resigned after he was verbally assaulted by several bus passengers.

She said no action was taken against those students either.

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