September 22nd, 2010
09:00 AM ET

Bullied girl's dad: 'I was going to be her protector'

On September 3, a Lake Mary, Florida, father jumped onto his daughter’s school bus and confronted bullies who he says had been tormenting the girl over the previous three days. James Jones was captured on bus surveillance video yelling and threatening kids on the bus. Jones has publicly apologized but may face two second-degree misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and disturbing a school function.

His lawyer told CNN’s “American Morning” that Jones and his wife did not inform the school that their daughter was being bullied. The girl has cerebral palsy.

The bullying was so traumatizing, Jones says his daughter is currently hospitalized.

Jones: Well, she's - she's on the medications - she suffered with cerebral palsy. We'd like to let everybody know that. Cerebral palsy is out there and kids do suffer with that. And right now we are just - hopefully when she comes home [from the hospital] we can get on with our lives with this.

AM’s Kiran Chetry:
And tell us a little bit about what led up to your words on the bus, your screaming.

James Jones: Well, basically my daughter was not - wasn't catching the bus, my wife was just [taking] her to school. She was getting up late, dragging around the house. And then all of a sudden the day when we were headed out [to the bus stop], she finally opened up and told me what was going on. And from there, you know, being a dad just loving my daughter … and just loving all my kids, you know ... [At] that point, my heart broke when I [saw] her standing there… [she] wasn't going to get on the bus crying. And a dad is a dad. And I was going to be her protector that day.

Chetry to Jones’ attorney Natalie Jackson: The Seminole County school district is saying none of this [the alleged bullying] was reported to them. Is that true?

Jackson: The bullying incidents, the specific bullying incidents, no, they were not reported. Mr. Jones did not find out about the specific bullying incidents until that day. When his daughter finally broke down and told him. And that's common among kids that have been bullied. They feel that it doesn't matter if they tell authority figures. They feel lonely and helpless. What they did notice was that their daughter had become increasingly distraught, and also distant from them. So she would come home and close her door. They would try to talk to her. She was depressed. The mother - Mr. Jones' wife took - that week of the accident, she started driving the daughter to school because the daughter would purposely miss the bus. So she had to drive her to school.

Chetry: Is your client - is James going to face any charges in connection with this?

Jackson: He was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and obstruction of a school function. In Florida, those are both second-degree misdemeanors. In Florida the state attorney is the person who moves forward with charges. At this point, there has not been any formal charges [filed.] READ THE FULL STORY

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soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Mary

    Why didn't the bus driver report the incidents? that is part of their job. Those kids who were bullying this poor girl could have been removed from the bus and her parents should have been notified. Why are the bullies always protected and the victims and families have to suffer so much pain to put a stop to it?
    I agree with what her dad did. He is protecting his daughter which is more than the bus driver did to protect her.

    September 23, 2010 at 12:34 am | Report abuse |
  2. Pam

    I would do exactly the same thing as this dad did. We need to protect our children from bullies. The kids know that the school can't lift a finger. Hopefully he put the living fear in other bullies today.

    September 23, 2010 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
  3. joanne chouinard

    I can relate to the father ,my son live the same thing , children did not want to give him a seat on the bus , I talk to the bus driver and she put him next to her in the front seat , this way nothing could happen to him , one child push my son and broke is glasses , the director of the school after my call remove the child from the bus for two weeks ,after thing were almost normal , people that see things like that, zero tolerance , and the school should inform the children and help them understand .

    September 23, 2010 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
  4. Dave Althaus

    I think the dad did the right thing.

    The bus driver failed to report the problem. The bus driver is an employee of the school district. The bus driver is responsible for assuring the safety of his/her passengers. Therefore, the school district had the opportunity to fix the situation and failed to protect the child.

    If the dad hadn't acted, the child would still be subjected to bullying. The parents of the bullies should be charged with neglect, since they clearly failed to educate their children on proper behavior.

    September 23, 2010 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  5. amanda

    You have got to visit http://www.deadbeatdad.us This site has all of the answers that you may need about child support and related topics! Go check it out!!

    September 25, 2010 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ron Wright

    Is this some sort of joke? Get real. He doesn't need a lawyer but the school district had sure better get their lawyers geared up because they are at fault here. He didn't strike the kid(s). I agree with the other responders also, what about the bus driver? Why didn't he report the abuse suffered by the child at the hands of those kids, instead of reporting the dad for addressing the problem that he – an employee of the district – should have addressed? This is wrong on so many levels. This man should be charged with anything. Many people would have done the same thing – especially for a disabled child. The parents of those rogue children should be ashamed for having raised such hooligans.

    September 29, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Laura

    CNN is a part of the problem in looking at how stories with real depth are covered. Why didn't CNN interview school officials about how they plan to enforce their bullying policy? Why didn't CNN put a camera in the face of school board members asking them what they plan to do about all the bullies that hurt the special needs child on the bus?

    CNN failed to report the whole story and only went for the 10 second headline that focused on an irate father yelling at the kids that victimized his child on a schoolbus.

    Another example of shoddy coverage by CNN.

    December 25, 2010 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
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