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Parent receives court summons for illegally boarding school bus

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FORT DRUM — Usually, students are the ones disciplined for breaking the school bus code of conduct.

Last week, however, Angelina Stewart boarded a Carthage school bus to give her child lunch money. Fort Drum Garrison Commander Col. Gary A. Rosenberg wrote on the post’s Facebook page that she has been served with a summons to appear in court for breaking a state law.

“Let me be clear — it is ILLEGAL for family members to board a school bus,” he wrote Thursday. “The family member was told this and the bus driver asked her to wait for the child to come back to the front of the bus. The family member refused this, boarded the bus, found her child and delivered the lunch money.”

However, others at the bus stop said parents have been allowed to board the bus to give items to their children before this particular driver started on the Fort Drum route. Parent Shannon M. Williams, who was at the bus stop, claims the bus driver threatened Mrs. Stewart and got physical with her.

“The bus driver is far from innocent in this and should be receiving some sort of reprimand for her behavior, like her repeated attempts to shut the door while the parent was in it and being hit by the door,” Mrs. Williams said in a Facebook comment. “In the video, it will also show the bus driver grabbing the parent.”

In a private Facebook message, Mrs. Williams said Mrs. Stewart has considered filing charges over how she has been treated since the incident happened but has no money for an attorney at the moment with the holidays approaching.

The post’s spokeswoman, Julie A. Cupernall, said Col. Rosenberg was on leave when asked if he could provide further information on the nature of his letter. She said the purpose of the letter was to inform the community about the law.

“We’re very sensitive to the idea there’s a story out there to be told,” she said. “It’s not to embarrass anybody or call anybody out.”

Carthage Central School District Superintendent Peter J. Turner confirmed there had been a recent incident regarding one of the district buses on Fort Drum. He said there had been no other incidents reported in which a parent got on the bus.

However, Mrs. Williams said another parent had boarded the bus around the beginning of the month to speak to the same driver about her child being bullied, “and all the driver did was rudely tell her to get off.”

Mrs. Shannon and other parents were not aware it was illegal to get on the school bus for any reason and she said she does not recall receiving from the school district a bus code of conduct or letter explaining the law.

“The other bus drivers we’ve had did allow parents on the front of the bus,” she said. “We had parents with kids going to kindergarten at the beginning of the year that had to get on the bus to put their child in the seats themselves because the kids were upset at leaving them.”

To read Col. Rosenberg’s letter to the community, go to https://www.facebook.com/drum.10thmountain#!/notes/us-army-fort-drum-10th-mountain-division/a-letter-to-the-community/376197985802472.

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