Her four-year-old autistic son got on the school bus for his first ride of the school year. He was heading to his class at Oconee Primary School. She was happy, knowing her little boy would get the special education services he needed, that his teacher seemed to understand him even though he speaks only a few words.
But when he got off the bus at home that Wednesday afternoon, the student wasn't happy. There was blood around his mouth and on his t-shirt, and one of his bottom teeth was missing, according to an incident report filed with the Oconee County Sheriff's Department. And he couldn't tell his mother what had happened to him.
So the mother contacted the school system, going to the coordinator of transportation for special education students. She said the bus driver had been nervous when she dropped off her son. According to the incident report, the coordinator told her they would look at the video tape from the bus and see if anything had happened on the bus, and then the coordinator would contact her.
Two days passed, and the mother contacted the special ed transportation coordinator again. That person told the mother the video tape had been destroyed.
"What happened to the tape?" she said. "I want someone to tell me what happened on the bus because my son can't tell me."
The mother was very disappointed by the lack of transparency from the school system. Her husband and she bought a house in Statham so her son could attend school in Oconee County, believing there were programs in the county that could help the child.
She told the transportation coordinator she was going to call the police, and she did. And now, she's driving her child to school every day. She won't let him get on the bus again, she said.
Attempts to reach officials with the Oconee County School District were not successful.