Principal blames I-Team for bus trouble

Principal blames I-Team for bus trouble

By Rob Koebel. CREATED Jun 13, 2011

MILWAUKEE - A strange new twist in the case of school bus 83.

Our cameras followed the bus after a parent complained, and now the principal at this school sends out a letter to parents saying all that chaos was the I-team's fault!

"It eats away at you - it really eats away at you with my son its showing in his grades."

This mother doesn't want us to share her name, but she decided to come forward after seeing our story of little four year old Jazete Edwards and what she has to go through day after day on her school bus.

The angry mom says, "It’s just the point that nobody is saying anything - that nobody is doing anything and my kids and this woman’s daughter can't be the only ones that are going through this and nobody wants to do anything.  Its -- oh well - its kids being kids".

That's why she wanted us to see the letter.  It's only a few paragraphs long, written on official M-P-S school stationary and signed by Frances Starms Discovery Learning Center Principal Clavon Byrd.

Byrd tells parents what our cameras caught is just "play fighting."

We see fists flying...a kid punching away at someone.  And when we track Bus 83 another day, we see it again. 

The angry parent adds, "They can't just say this is play fighting and it's a isolated incident and the kids were performing no - no - you can feed that to someone else because I am sure not buying it".

The letter goes on to blame the I-Team - "When one child saw that they were being filmed he went so far as to act out for the camera.  Unfortunately this was seen in the media as being evidence of bullying".

Ms. Edwards shakes her head saying, "From my point of view I don't believe it – it’s just garbage - something they sent home a waste of paper - that's it".

We show the letter to Ms Edwards.  She is the first mom who came to us.  She can't believe Byrd calls this "play fighting" for the camera since her 4 year old is caught in the middle of the bullying regularly.   Ms Edwards herself says she sees the chaos daily when the bus pulls up to let her daughter off.

Ms. Edwards says, "You were behind them - they didn't know".

Rob asks, "The superintendent says Bus 83 is the only problem.  40 kids is the only problem out of 80,000 at the district. Do you believe that?" 

Angry mother says, “NO!  Not by a long shot.”

M-P-S refused our request to interview Principal Byrd - sending an email instead.  “Dr. Byrd continues to reach out directly with Starms families, reaffirming the need for appropriate behavior on buses.”   

But these two worried mothers aren't buying it.  They say little students are facing bullying all the time and worry that the district will keep ignoring the problem till somebody really gets hurt.

In fact we know it’s not the only bus with problems!  We are on the case of another school bus out of control from the tips you have sent us.  Stay tuned for that report!