School officials have agreed to pay a $62,500 settlement in a suit that alleged a West Point Junior High bus driver dragged a black student while the boy was suspended from the bus door.
Brenda Mayes accused Davis School District officials of doing nothing to curb the alleged racial animus, bullying and harassment by the bus driver toward her son and other minority students.
In a U.S. District Court civil rights suit filed in May in Salt Lake City, Mayes alleged the driver “intentionally closed the bus door on (the teen’s) backpack as he exited the bus, trapping the backpack in the bus, but with his body dangling outside.”
The bus then traveled 150-175 feet as the 13-year-old was suspended “in mortal danger,” the suit said.
The boy was not injured in the Feb. 4 incident.
District officials said they conducted an implicit-bias training session for all bus drivers. In previous news coverage, district spokesman Chris Williams said district officials apologized to Mayes.
In court papers filed Tuesday, Mayes’ attorney, Alyson McAllister, petitioned Judge Clark Waddoups for approval of the civil settlement.
The settlement includes $21,250 for the teen, to be held in trust with Mayes as conservator. The rest of the settlement, $41,250, will go to the Sykes McAllister Law Offices, PLLC.
In June, members of Utah Black Roundtable, Black Lives Matter and other community supporters protested at a district board meeting, complaining about racist behavior by district personnel and students against minorities.
Mayes’ lawsuit said district officials “deflected or ignored many complaints” about the driver’s alleged racially motivated conduct toward minority students, allowing him to continue working and leading to the February incident.
Mayes’ son is half black, according to the lawsuit.
Williams said Thursday the bus driver was put on paid leave the same day of the incident and resigned Feb. 7.
The school district issued this statement Wednesday when asked for comment on the settlement:
“We do not comment on litigation. We take these matters very seriously and do everything we can to protect students.”