School district responds to video of beating on WCSD bus

Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 6:00 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - “My school is as safe as any school in the United States of American right now,” said Melynda Baker, principal with O’Brien Middle School. Her comments came during a Zoom call with media outlets who aired stories Tuesday about a beating on a WCSD school bus last Friday.

The video was taken by a student on the bus and shows a seated child being pummeled by another student as the bus heads to the appointed bus stops.

“I feel devastated at the fact that students make choices that hurt each other,” said Baker.

The story was brought to our attention by Robert Lukas, the parent whose 11-year-old son was injured on the school bus. He posted the video on the Lemmon Valley Community page, and said principal Baker and he spoke just once by phone on Monday morning.

The principal claims she expressed her condolences and asked how the 6th grader was doing. Lukas denies those claims and says Baker was concerned about the video on the community page.

“This is going to make my school look bad,” Lukas said Baker told him during the phone conversation. Baker told us today she was concerned only about the students depicted in the video, and their privacy.

She says the investigation is ongoing on several levels, administratively to the school transportation division.

Asked about the school bus driver who Lukas says simply dropped off his son bloodied and upset at his appointed bus stop?

“I can’t comment on that,” said Superintendent Jeana Curtis who participated in the Zoom call. .

The Zoom call was an attempt to clear up any miscommunication or confusion concerning the incident. During which the principal appeared to contradict herself.

“There was more than one incident that occurred with that student,” she told us early in the conference call. Later she said, “We’ve only had one report involving that child. And it was a report of that bus. And I really wish we would have had a report before that.”

We are unsure which of the two children involved in the incident to which she is referring.

But the bottom line is this: Neither the media nor the public will ever have access to the final report on the beating.

Federal privacy laws forbid it.

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