Busing issue raised at board meeting

November 04, 1997


Staff Writer, Martinsburg

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A representative for bus drivers Monday night asked the Berkeley County Board of Education to hold off on sending buses into a subdivision where a driver was assaulted last month.

Susan Burner of Hedgesville is a service personnel representative for the bus drivers. She said after addressing the board that sending buses into the Foxcrest Manor subdivision at this time sends the wrong message.

Thomas Everhart of Inwood was charged with battery against a school official after allegedly striking bus driver Charles Walker on the morning of Oct. 17, according to a Berkeley County Sheriff's Department report.


The report said Everhart's son was late for the bus, cursed the driver then went to his father, who was waiting in a car at the entrance of the subdivision. Walker and Everhart allegedly argued and Everhart hit him several times.

"If you don't get the results you want, you just verbally or physically assault the driver," Burner said was the message the school system's decision sends. She said the drivers want the board to reconsider the decision until Everhart's case is decided in court.

"The assault on that driver had nothing to do with sending a bus into that subdivision," Board President Bill Sonnik said after the meeting. Sonnik said Superintendent Manny Arvon, Transportation Director Larry Carte and he toured the subdivision last week at the request of parents.

Sonnik noted it was 1.8 miles from the farthest cul-de-sac to the entrance, which he said was "too far for children to walk, particularly in bad weather."

According to Sonnik, such decisions are made on a case-by-case basis throughout the year as requests come in to the administration.

He said there is no way of knowing if changing the route earlier could have prevented the assault.

"We plan to aggressively prosecute that case," he said of the alleged assault.

The Herald-Mail Articles