Wake school bus driver denies assaulting students

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- A Wake County school bus driver charged with assault denies she hit anyone.

Arrest warrants allege 50-year-old Jacqueline Dennis of Fuquay-Varina punched a 7-year-old boy in the stomach, twisted his arm, grabbed his neck, and shoved him off the bus on May 12.

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Investigators said an 8-year-old boy was pushed into the metal frame of the school bus window.

But in an interview with ABC11 Tuesday, Dennis said she was filling in on a route for Reedy Creek Elementary School when one kindergartner wouldn't listen to her when she repeatedly told him to sit down.

She said she called him to the front of the bus where he stayed for the remainder of the trip but continued to stand up. When she stopped at his stop, she told him to not get off right away as she wasn't sure that was his correct stop.

She said the boy turned around on the step, lunged, and yelled at her. She said she was scared of him, but never touched him or any other student.

"This is something that I did not do, hadn't thought about doing," Dennis told ABC11 on Tuesday. "It's just not in my nature to hit... no punch no child in the stomach. Please."

Wake County Schools put Dennis on non-driving duty the day after an assault was reported. She spent over a month filing paperwork in the district office and resigned last Friday, three days after Raleigh police issued a warrant for her arrest.

The grandmother of four wants to drive school buses again, but for now she's out of a job and accused of a crime she says is truly unbelievable.

"I don't know," Dennis said when asked why these charges were brought against her. "I really don't, but I know this: I'm not losing no sleep over this because I did not do this."

Dennis is officially charged with two counts of assaulting a child under the age of 12.

She is out of jail on bond.

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