The Beaufort mother who has petitioned the Beaufort County School District to put cameras on school buses says she will now look to the courts to keep her children from being bullied.
Christina Chandler says she is suing the district and its bus company, Durham School Services, because not enough has been done by the district or Beaufort Elementary School to protect her children.
"It's too bad it's gone to this extent, but for anything to change, there needs to be more pressure on them," she said.
Both the school district and Durham School Services declined comment on the lawsuit, filed Monday in Beaufort County court.
The suit alleges that Chandler's 6-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter have been repeatedly bullied on the bus since school began this year. Chandler has also said that her youngest son, a kindergartner, has been bullied on the bus. The suit does not mention that child because Chandler is not his biological mother.
Among the suit's allegations are that Chandler's children have been shoved into the aisle, elbowed and kicked while on the bus. The suit also claims her daughter has been punched in the face, choked, scratched, had her hair pulled and been called names.
According to the lawsuit, her daughter has been physically bullied at least four times and her son twice, including one incident when he was "popped in the face." Both children have been verbally bullied continuously, the suit says.
Chandler said she now picks up her children from school several days each week so they don't have to ride the bus home as much. She can't pick them up every day, she says, because of her job.
The lawsuit asks that the district and bus company take immediate action to stop the bullying. It also asks for a jury trial and compensation for emotional damage, lost wages and medical bills.
Chandler recently presented a petition to the Beaufort County Board of Education in support of installing cameras on school buses. In response, the school board created a committee that has two months to study the issue and make a recommendation.
Chandler has said 60 days is too long.
"I'm doing everything that I can," she said. "I've been trying to work with the school, and there hasn't been any changes. No one has been willing to stop what has been happening."
- Beaufort school administrators: More research sought on school bus video cameras; Sept. 12, 2012
- School board committee to consider bus cameras; Sept. 9, 2012
- Parent starts petition for school-bus cameras; Aug. 28, 2012