Durham Public School System adds cameras to buses

Thursday, October 2, 2014
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The Durham Public School System is adding extra security measures on buses.

DURHAM (WTVD) -- Security changes are coming to Durham Public Schools after a child claimed he was forced to engage in oral sex on a school bus.

All DPS buses will soon be equipped with cameras, according to DPS Superintendent Dr. Bert L'Homme.

"It is no longer acceptable for any bus to go without this added layer of security," said L'Homme, adding that the school system is reviewing its policies.

A bus monitor has been assigned to the bus where the alleged incident occurred on September 11 pending the outcome of an investigation. School officials say the mother of a five year old boy initially filed her report with police the same day and then spoke to administrators at W.G. Pearson Elementary. A police report obtained by ABC11 is dated September 12.

For the first, DPS Superintendent Dr. Bert L'Homme publicly addressed growing concerns about how police and the school system initially handled the allegations.

"These are serious allegations against very young children," said L'Homme, adding that school leaders have interviewed multiple children and their parents in an effort to learn exactly what may have happened.

Durham police confirm they're investigating more incidents, including two reports stemming from the alleged sex assault on September 11 and another incident on the same bus that did not involve an assault.

The alleged incident was first reported by Que Pasa, a local Spanish language newspaper.

This week several mothers of other children who ride the same bus went to Durham Police Headquarters expecting to meet with the police chief. Instead, a member of the department's command staff listened to their concerns.

They also sent a handwritten letter to Durham Public Schools, demanding answers and the removal of the older children now under investigation. The school system says it cannot remove or suspend the children pending the outcome of the investigation. A bus monitor has been assigned to the bus, according to school officials.

The I-Team has learned the allegations are not new to DPS. An incident report filed in 2009 alleges a Durham kindergartner was forced to pull down her pants on a bus. Her mother told authorities the bus driver did not intervene.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity to protect her child's identity, the mother tells ABC11 she was forced to switch schools after the school and law enforcement failed to take action.

Que Pasa has also reported on an alleged school bus assault in 2012.

Years later, there are similar allegations surfacing from other frustrated parents. This time, there are promises of policy changes and a thorough investigation.

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