RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) -A Chesterfield mother says she wants answers from the school division after her daughter with special needs got off the school bus hysterical Tuesday.
“I have never seen her cry like that before,” Emily Womack said.
Womack said her 6-year-old Pheebe’s first year at Swift Creek Elementary has been positive, and they have had no negative experiences with their regular bus driver. Pheebe is described as a happy, loving and quiet child, who at times struggles to communicate.
At some point during the year, Womack says the bus driver changed, and some days the bus numbers change as well.
“She was crying, I could hear it and I could see how red her face was. As soon as I got to her she kind of jumped into my arms," Womack said. “The bus driver, almost nonchalantly but almost annoyed sounding, ‘she’s been crying the whole way home.’"
Womack said she did her best to get Pheebe to calm down, and decided to record a video, asking Pheebe questions about what may have happened on the bus.
“I initially thought she had been yelled at, which I still don’t think is OK. When she came into the kitchen after I made the recording, she pulled her panties down, she said ‘right here, right here’, I said did the bus driver spank you? and she just said YEA!" Womack said.
Womack says she immediately started asking for answers. She contacted the Chesterfield County Transportation Office, but said she was told they were “concerned," and would look into the situation. Womack said the days continued to pass without any explanation, or a name of the bus driver.
“Apparently, this video on the bus has been damaged, and is not viewable,” she said. “I don’t believe that, I think something else is going on.”
Womack reported the incident to Chesterfield Police, which said an investigation is ongoing.
“I just hope I’m wrong. I would rather be wrong than be right about this," Womack said. "I would rather her not have experienced any trauma whatsoever. I want to see people that are trained in how to handle special needs children driving. Even as substitutes, they should be the only ones who should be able to drive those children or be alone with those children.”
Following a request for comment, Chesterfield County Public Schools said, “The school division will continue to work directly with the family.”
Womack says she plans to drive her daughter to school, as the investigation continues and she waits for answers.
“I’m not putting her back on a bus," Womack said.
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