SALT LAKE CITY - A mother in Utah is suing a former school bus driver she says targeted her son, trapping the boy's backpack in the bus doors and driving away.
"My initial thoughts were I was glad he didn't kill him. I was glad he didn't go under the wheels," Brenda Mayes told KUTV.
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Video taken by a camera mounted to the interior of the bus shows the children were lined up, getting off the school bus when suddenly the doors closed just as her 14-year-old son was exiting. His backpack was caught in the door as the bus started to move. For about 20 seconds, his body was dangling outside the bus held up only by the straps of his backpack. "He said he felt pressure against his chest but he didn't have like injuries. You could tell where he got pinched there," said Mayes.
"As the driver is driving, he looks over three times as he is going forward. He is driving forward, he's looking, he looks over, so he knew what he was doing. The children were very animated. He knew exactly what he was doing," said Mayes.
Mayes said her son called her after the Feb. 4 incident, sounding "terrified and embarrassed." She believes this was no accident, but was done on purpose by the bus driver, John Naisbitt.
In a lawsuit that names the Davis School District, its transportation director, David Roberts, and Naisbitt as defendants, Mayes claims the bus driver has a history of targeting biracial students.
Robert Sykes, Mayes' lawyer, said: "All this was based upon race -- racial discrimination, racial assault -- and it was unconstitutional conduct and Davis School District suborned it. They passively approved it because they did nothing until this event."
In a statement, the school district said: "When issues of discrimination are raised at any time, they are investigated thoroughly. The Davis School District takes any claims of racial discrimination seriously and does not tolerate any form of racial discrimination in our schools."
Roberts had no comment.
Naisbitt, who the lawsuit claims was forced to retire soon after this incident, was asked by KSTU: "Would you say that you're racist?"
Naisbitt, smiling and gesturing, responded: "No. Not at all. No. Look at my dog. He's as black as could be."
Mayes said a criminal investigation into Naisbitt's actions is ongoing.