School bus drivers are often
called the “eyes and ears”
of their communities. That
was certainly true in the case of
13-year-old Alexis “Lexie” Glover.
The efforts of a few observant
and caring pupil transporters
could have led authorities to save
Two separate school bus driver-attendant
teams spotted signs that the Manassas,
Va.-area girl was being abused by
her adoptive mother.
As reported by The Washington Post, Lexie’s
bus driver and attendant once noticed
that the girl’s wrists had marks as if she
had been tied up. Lexie told them that her
mother had bound her and made her lie on
the car floor during an out-of-state trip.
On another occasion, the bus staff noticed
a large welt on Lexie’s head. She told them
that her mother would — while videotaping
— force her to hit herself. The bus staff
notified Lexie’s school and the Prince William
County Department of Social Services.
Later, when Lexie came to the bus in her
underwear, the bus staff bundled her up
and called their dispatcher, which led to a
call to the police.
A driver-attendant team on a different
bus twice spotted Lexie’s mother drive
away from a daycare center with her
daughter in the trunk. They notified their
dispatcher and then gave written statements
of what they had seen to police.
Despite these pupil transporters’ best efforts,
for which they deserve commendation,
police said that the mother denied
the incidents and that Lexie kept quiet.
Other alarming incidents were reported
On Jan. 9, Lexie’s body was
found in a shallow creek. Her
death was ruled a homicide, and
her mother was later charged
with the crime.
On the lookout
Although this case ended in
tragedy, it shows another important
facet of school bus personnel:
They look after kids on and off their bus.
It’s not just a matter of driving safely.
But how do pupil transporters know
when to report a suspicion of abuse? In
Lexie’s case, the signs were unmistakable,
but it may not always be so clear.
On its Website, www.childabuse.org, the
Tennyson Center for Children lists possible
indicators of abuse, including unexplained
bruises, rope burns, behavioral extremes
and wariness of physical contact.
Many people are hesitant to report possible
abuse, but “without aware adults,
some children might never receive help,”
the organization says. “Remember, you are
reporting suspicion of child abuse. Even if
you aren’t sure, it’s better to let authorities
check it out. You might save a child’s life!”
Unfortunately, the authorities did not
save Lexie. After her death, a state investigation
began of the response of the county
Department of Social Services. Virginia
requires this type of review in any case of
child abuse that results in death, but county
officials in this case prompted the state to
accelerate the process.
They can’t bring Lexie back, but hopefully
they can shed some light on why the
system failed and keep it from happening
again. Vigilant school bus drivers and attendants
can only do so much.