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Monitor attacked on mend
Incident on bus is rare, officials say
bus fight 2 jd
The driver of this bus stopped in the Parkstone subdivision clubhouse parking lot Tuesday after a special needs student bit an aide. - photo by Jim Dean

A veteran Forsyth County school bus monitor is recovering after being bitten by a special needs student Tuesday morning, an incident officials said is unusual but which staff members are trained to handle.

School officials have not released the name of the bus monitor or the student, but said the boy attends Liberty Middle School.

The incident drew emergency medical personnel as well as several Forsyth County Sheriff’s deputies to the Parkstone subdivision off Elmo Road in northwest Forsyth.

Garry Puetz, the school system’s director of transportation, said the bus monitor is a little sore. He did not know when, or if, she would return to work.

Puetz said she is a veteran monitor, but did not know how long she has been with the school district.

“We use monitors on our special needs transportation exclusively right now to help support the needs of any student who may be riding,” he said.
“In any case, a school bus monitor gets on and assists with whatever special needs a student might have on one of our buses.

Puetz said those needs could include tying down wheelchairs, focusing on safe and respectful bus behavior and monitoring students who may have specific medical needs.

“Obviously, we can’t train for every specific thing that happens, but they do receive classroom training and they receive training as they get different assignments,” he said.

Monitors receive assistance from instructors who work in special education and from those in transportation, he said. They also are trained in crisis prevention and instruction specific to the students they work with.

School system spokeswoman Jennifer Caracciolo declined to comment on whether the student had a history of biting. The other student who was on the bus at the time was not injured, she said.

The incident occurred about 8:25 a.m. while the bus was traveling through the Parkstone subdivision.

Caracciolo said the student bit the aide, then pushed her into the dashboard of the bus. The driver pulled over at the subdivision’s clubhouse and called 911.

Forsyth County Fire Capt. Jason Shivers said the woman was taken to Northside Hospital-Forsyth for treatment of minor injuries.

Bruce Wagar, the school district’s director of safety and discipline, could not comment on whether the student would be reprimanded, saying only that the incident was unusual.

“Children who have special education programs, whoever they may be, an exceptional child committee meets to determine future placement and consequences to that degree,” Wagar said.

Puetz said he thinks the boy’s father picked him up Tuesday morning at the site.

Forsyth County Sheriff's Lt. Jody Chapman said a juvenile complaint has been filed against the student for battery. He was released to his parents' custody.

E-mail Julie Arrington at