ST. LOUIS – Two students at KIPP Wisdom Academy were assaulted by adults on First Student buses.
On Wednesday, 8-year-old Keondre Pearson said the father of another student slapped him twice on the face. It happened after his daughter got off the bus crying.
“She came back on the bus with her daddy and he said, ‘Point out who did it’ and she pointed at me, he said, ‘Don’t touch my daughter again,’ and he slapped me on the face ... then he slapped me again,” Pearson said.
Tonya Griffin, Pearson's grandmother, said First Student told her surveillance video on the bus confirms what the man said before striking the child and that Pearson didn't do anything to the girl.
Pearson said the bus driver should have done more to protect her.
“He watched the man get on the bus and slap me,” she said.
Griffin said Pearson wouldn’t be riding the First Student bus anymore.
And at a bus stop Thursday morning, a mother and her daughter got on the bus and witnesses said the mom told her daughter to strike a 7-year-old several times, then they got off the bus.
Amesha Johnson, the mother of the child who was attacked, said the school apologized.
“(The child) was going to be suspended off bus,” she said. “I said I was going to call police and press charges.”
Johnson said she will not allow her 7-year-old daughter to ride the bus anymore as well.
Kelly Garrett, executive director of KIPP St. Louis Public Schools, released the following statement Thursday:
"In both cases, family members from KIPP Wisdom Academy boarded their child's bus at their bus stop. We have been in contact with First Student to remind them of this very important policy that no family members or other adults are allowed to board our school buses. As always, the safety of our students is a top priority.”
Jay Brock, a spokesman for First Student, issued this statement:
"From what we are able to tell, the driver acted appropriately and within our training protocols. We are ready to support all local authorities and have partnered with the school district. As this may become an active police investigation, that is all the information we are able to share at this time."
Both families said they’ll be pressing charges against the adults who were responsible for the assaults on their kids.