Metro Schools is in the process of hiring 10 special education school bus monitors nearly a month after two families filed suits claiming their children were sexually assaulted on Metro special ed buses.
Schools spokesman Woody McMillin said the new hires are not in response to the lawsuits.
“I can tell you it would not be in response to a lawsuit,” McMillin said. “We don’t operate that way.”
School district officials said they were unclear when the 10 positions were budgeted.
Announcements for the positions have been posted on Metro Schools’ Web site since Aug. 14.
The two incidents’ of alleged sexual assault occurred in October 2006 and May of this year.
The two families who are currently suing the district said their children have had monitors on their special ed buses since the beginning of school this year.
According to Metro Schools officials, who responded to inquiries Friday, the current monitors on these buses had been temporarily assigned from other duties and will be included in the 10 new hires.
The mother of a 9-year-old special needs student who was the victim of an alleged sexual assault on a bus in May said she had requested a monitor for her son before the incident happened, but she “got the runaround” from the district.
After repeated bullying and assaults on her son, the mother said she asked the district to “either get a monitor on that bus… or get [my son off the bus].” That’s when she said she got directed to the Transportation Department of Metro Schools who then directed her back to Metro Schools officials.
Federal law currently does not require an individual monitor on any special education school bus.
State special education rules and regulations do, however, state that “adaptations shall be made to meet the needs of children with disabilities rather than separate transportation whenever appropriate” and that “special attendants shall be provided when in the judgment of the [Individual Education Plan] team such services are necessary.”
School district officials said last week “monitors will be assigned to various special education school buses based on need as determined by transportation and the special education department.”
The two lawsuits are currently waiting to be heard in federal court.