Police clear school bus driver after investigation into fight

A Marietta school bus driver accused of threatening, cursing and hitting students — leaving one of them with a bloodied head — during an alleged fight on her route has been cleared by police.

No criminal charges will be filed in the Oct. 20 incident on Roswell Road, Marietta City Schools spokeswoman Tammy Garnes told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in an email. The bus driver, who has been with the school system for 12 years, was on administrative leave during the investigation. There was no record of mistreating children in her file, police said.

“After a thorough investigation, including gathering all facts and witness statements, Marietta detectives determined they did not have enough evidence to seek criminal charges in this case,” Marietta police Officer Chuck McPhilamy told the AJC.

Police were called to investigate an alleged fight on the bus that left two children with injuries, according to a police report obtained by the AJC.

Two Lockheed Elementary School students told police the bus driver “had been cursing at them, pushing and hitting them while on the ride home.” One of the children stood up to defend his sister, who the bus driver threatened to write up, when he said the driver pushed his head and caused him to fall. He was left with a small cut to his leg, police said.

The second student said the driver also cursed at him and struck him on his left hand, leaving a scratch, according to the report. The students were treated on the scene.

Police said other students on the bus corroborated the injured children’s stories, adding that there were multiple angry parents waiting at bus stops and one child had gotten off the bus with a bloody head. The driver denied the claims when interviewed.

The driver told police the only physical contact she had with the children was putting her right arm out to stop them from leaving the bus before they were supposed to. She said she did not observe any injuries, nor did she threaten the children.

She told police “there was a report of a fight and a student with an injury to his ear.” The woman, who is not the regular bus driver for the route, said she pulled over to investigate claims of a fight and said that some students did “exchange licks,” but she did not have to break up a fight.

The driver also said an angry parent approached her and attempted to get on the bus, but she was cursed out when she prevented the parent from doing so. The driver told police that students also began cursing at her.

Police said the driver “was vague in her description of the incident and kept describing different parts at different times.” The driver told officers that there were “multiple angry parents at multiple stops” and that a car had been following the bus.

Officers continued their investigation at the school, but a school official said none of the students had come forward as witnesses and that they had very little information about the incident.

When an officer went to check cameras from the bus, it was discovered the hard drive had been removed by an IT employee and was not replaced, according to the report. Officials told police the hard drives are locked and the bus drivers do not have access to them.

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