AUTHORITIES: JCPS Activity Bus Driver charged with assault after - WDRB 41 Louisville News

AUTHORITIES: JCPS Activity Bus Driver charged with assault after child loses teeth

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A JCPS employee who was driving an activity bus has been charged with assault after authorities say he intentionally slammed on the brakes of the activity bus he was driving, resulting in significant dental injuries to one of the children in his care.

It happened on Oct. 21, 2013, according to a criminal summons. Authorities say 60-year-old Donald Babbage, Jr. "deliberately braked the bus sharply, causing most of the minor children on the bus to fall forward." The students were from Frost Middle School.

A girl was riding the activity bus home after staying at school for detention. She says she asked Babbage to "please stop" hitting the brakes, but he said "Ya'll should be sitting down."

The girl fell forward and struck the elbow of a student in the seat in front of her, according to the summons, and her mouth began to bleed and swell. The pain in her mouth continued for the next two days, according to the summons.

Authorities say a dentist examined her mouth a short time later and found that the girl's two front permanent teeth had been fractured, that her lip had been busted and that a third tooth was loose. That dentist had to pull her two front permanent teeth, according to court documents, and the girl had to wear an appliance.

She will also have to wear a temporary bridge for the foreseeable future as a result of the incident, according to authorities.
The dentist also advised that a root canal may be required for the tooth that was loosened.

Babbage has been charged with fourth degree assault. He was served with a criminal summons shortly before 10 a.m. on May 27. He is required to appear in court to face the charge on July 16.

According to JCPS spokesman Ben Jackey, the bus was an "activity bus" -- not a school bus with a regular daily route. Babbage received a 10-day suspension back in January due to a "substantiated investigation."  He returned to work later in January and has also been placed on 90 work day probationary period.

WDRB obtained a copy of the 55 page JCPS investigation.

The district says Donald Babbage is no longer allowed to drive a bus, but can still be part of the Student Response Team helping troubled students at Frost.

Ben Jackey, a JCPS Spokesman said, "He has a CDL and in our middle and high schools, we have activity buses, because there are so many activities going on whether it be in the school day or after the school day."

Babbage wrote a letter saying students were standing up, running up and down the aisles, and wrestling with each other and that the students involved were told to sit down five times. He said, "I even demonstrated, by touching the brake, what could be the result if I had to stop abruptly, and they could get hurt." He says he did have to stop suddenly at an intersection with a car front of him.. and that's when the girl standing in the aisle fell and hurt her lip, lost her teeth, and had emergency surgery.

Jackey said, "You're asking me in essence should he be fired? Because otherwise he wouldn't have a job as an instructor .... so what the principal said... what principal did was administer the discipline. He is serving that discipline. He has been deemed to be competent in the role that he currently is in."
 
Jackey said, "The petition and the police are going to determine whether or not this was an actual assault and the court system will determine whether this is an actual assault."

The case was also turned over to Child Protective Services. Babbage has not returned our calls for comment.
 
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