‘You guys didn’t protect my son:’ Carson mom speaks out after driver let stranger on son’s school bus

Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 11:59 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Every morning, Natasha Malone leaves for work hoping her son will make it to and from school safely. However, a week ago, the nine-year-old, who goes to Bordewich Bray Elementary School told her, a random man threatened him after he showed him the middle finger.

“He started telling me what he had done. I got really angry at him when I found out that he had flipped this person off before I even found out the actual story of what really happened,” said Malone. “I yelled at him, I grounded him, I took phones, tablets, everything.”

Once she learned 54-year-old Michael Baxter not only followed the bus but yelled at her son asking, “What are you doing? Do you want to get your head caved in?” and made the gesture of having a gun, she started making calls.

“Left messages, nobody called me back,” said Malone.

When she got a hold of a manager at the Carson City School District Safety Services, the response wasn’t what she expected.

“It was almost a hassle for them to have to deal with what just had happened,” said Malone. “She had told me, the Carson City Sheriff will be contacting you but I need to bring my son back to school, forget this ever happened to him, you know, basically, it was unfortunate. Like... I’m the one traumatizing him by not letting him come to school and I told her that you guys didn’t protect my son.”

According to the report (provided by authorities and which contains interviews with the driver, Baxter and the student), the bus driver allowed Baxter onto the bus because he knew him and wanted to teach the student a lesson for being disrespectful.

Surveillance video shows the child is “visibly upset” by Baxter yelling at him, but deputies say it is unclear whether or not he actually had a gun in his holster.

When deputies talked to the driver he said that “If (Baxter) did have a gun, then that was a problem,” but stated he had no idea if he had a gun.

“To think he was disciplining my kid like, no that’s my job. “You should’ve went to anybody else, anybody, and never step foot on that bus. He loves school, he has dreams, he wants to play in the NBA, his dream is to play against Steph Curry,” said Malone with tears in her eyes. “Now, he’s scared to go to school. I’m scared to even let him.”

The child told investigators his cousin told him to make an obscene gesture to the driver behind them and that if he didn’t he would tackle him.

Malone told KOLO8 News Now that she has pulled her son out of school and is looking for other alternatives. She will be also starting therapy to help her son process the traumatic experience.

The Sheriff’s Office said both men are out of custody and most of the students who were on the bus that day have been interviewed with no “impacting revaluations”.

KOLO8 News Now sent two requests to the CCSD for comment but were told that at this time they’re not releasing anything more than the statement shared last week, indicating:

“The case remains under investigation, including as to how the individual gained access to the bus. The school district handles employee issues internally. Employee disciplinary matters are confidential. However, district officials diligently follow-up on any allegation involving an employee of the district, with student safety as a paramount priority.”