BATESVILLE – Amma Gleason admitted she was very frustrated when she read the story regarding her son and South Panola School district’s former bus driver, Walter Corner, Friday morning.
She took issue with many points Corner said, but could only say what her son said since she was not admittedly a witness to the alleged physical altercation between the two.
After the altercation, Gleason said her son was handcuffed and taken to the Batesville Police Department and cuffed to the bench. Malicious mischief and simple assault charges were filed against the 13-year-old seventh grade student by South Panola School, listing Robert Chapman on the police report.
Gleason said no one in the school district wanted to take responsibility of filing charges against her son.
"I wouldn’t have had any problems with this if he [Corner] had been sitting next to my child handcuffed to the bench also," she said.
Even though Corner has been relieved of duty as a bus driver, he is still employed with the school district in areas in which he is not to come in contact with the students.
"I’ve heard he works in the cafeteria where my son goes to school and I have a problem with that," Gleason said.
Also, Gleason said she has complained against Corner in the past when other children were picking on her three children.
"I complained to the superintendent. Since an earlier incident, there has been a conflict between my son and the bus driver," Gleason said.
"I admit my son was wrong arguing with an adult and kicking out a window," Gleason said. "He has been punished by the school and by his parents."
Gleason had to pay $45 to replace the back window of the bus.
Gleason reported her son’s jaw was swollen following the incident.
"If it had been me, I’d been in jail for child abuse," she said.
To that end, Gleason said she has pursued some avenues to have Corner charged with child abuse but the child abuse center was not willing to pursue the charges she was told.
Gleason described her son as a straight A, well-behaved boy who has no troubles at school or home. She said he has been a term student for two nine weeks in a row.
"I told the superintendent that my 99 and 100 average student brought home an 89 in history, his favorite subject," Gleason said. "My son is calm and does not raise his voice. He is a typical 13-year-old boy."
The case is scheduled to go back to Municipal Court next Wednesday, April 21. During the week of spring break, Gleason said she went door-to-door asking the parents’ permission for their children to write down what happened on the bus.
These letters were presented in the initial court appearance, but the judge ordered the witnesses to appear during the upcoming court date.
"The police never asked my son what happened," Gleason said. "They told me to go get my own statements."
Gleason said she will do what she can to get some relief for her son. She said all during spring break he cried instead of being out having fun like the other children.
"Kids need someone they can go to who will believe them," Gleason said. "They [school officials] could care less as long as they get their paychecks."
In each one’s accounting, the student is claiming that Corner hit first and Corner is claiming the student hit first.
In a written police statement of the event, the student said, "I walked on to the bus and was being forced to sit in seat one. I told the bus driver that it was wrong. The bus driver started to argue. Me and the bus driver got into an argument. During this argument, I threw my hands up in disgust and knocked his hat off. In a matter of seconds, the bus driver drew up his first and backhanded me across the right side of my face. I took a step backward in amazement. I looked at the bus driver and started to hit him four or five times in the right side of his face. A student….broke it up by grabbing me around the waist and held me in seat one. The bus driver then unbuckled his seatbelt and pushed the student out of the way and continued to hit me. I hit back. For a second time, …(the other student) broke it up again. I then walked to the back of the bus and shattered the back glass by kicking it. Then Mr. Tucker got on the bus and told me to get my stuff and get off the bus. Then I was arrested and transported to the police station."
Throwing up his hands in disgust is a typical action of the child, according to Gleason.