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September 23, 2010  |   Comments (7)   |   Post a comment

Dad who confronted bus bullies to speak at NAPT

At the upcoming NAPT conference in Portland, Ore., James Jones will participate in a panel discussion about bullying. After his 12-year-old daughter with cerebral palsy was harassed, Jones stormed her school bus.Photo courtesy Travel Portland

At the upcoming NAPT conference in Portland, Ore., James Jones will participate in a panel discussion about bullying. After his 12-year-old daughter with cerebral palsy was harassed, Jones stormed her school bus.

Photo courtesy Travel Portland

SANFORD, Fla. — The man who stormed a school bus here earlier this month to confront his daughter’s bullies will speak at the upcoming National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) Summit.

NAPT invited James Jones to participate in a panel discussion on bullying on Nov. 1 during its conference in Portland, Ore.

After his 12-year-old daughter with cerebral palsy was harassed, Jones boarded her bus on Sept. 3. Video footage (see below) shows him threatening bus passengers and the driver.

Jones has been charged with disorderly conduct and disturbing a school function.

The incident drew widespread media coverage, and Jones apologized for his actions in a press conference.

“We are pleased that Mr. Jones accepted our invitation to meet with our industry and look forward to his insights,” NAPT Executive Director Mike Martin said. “The incident involving his daughter captured national attention, and we hope this experience can be channeled into a productive discussion about how we can prevent bullying and, when it occurs, deal with it more effectively.”

At the Tuesday news conference, the girl's mother, Deborah McFadden-Jones, said that their daughter's cerebral palsy is not noticeable. She was picked on because she stood up for another girl, her mother said.

"She was helping someone else, and it turned on her, and there was no one there to help her out," McFadden-Jones said.

James Jones said at the news conference that their daughter had been teased, spit on, poked and pushed, and she had an emotional breakdown. 

In addition to inviting Jones to participate in the panel discussion, NAPT issued a white paper with parental action steps for dealing with bullying. The paper offers suggestions for how to get action promptly but responsibly. The association urges parents to focus emotions into constructive action by first getting all the facts about the incident, collecting thoughts and then being persistent in respectfully demanding a response.

“We all know that because of legal liability concerns and bureaucracy, getting action is not always easy and can be frustrating. But the answer can’t be to board a school bus and threaten children,” Martin said. “The flip side is that school systems need to take bullying complaints seriously and respond quickly and effectively.”

To access the white paper, click here.

For more information on the NAPT conference, go to


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Sorry, in the middle of my comment I wrote "thud" dad. It should have been "thug" dad. The thud was the collective jaw of those of us who read that the NAPT is sponsoring this trip for him with member and sponsor money.

Louie    |    Sep 30, 2010 04:43 AM

What happened to the original blog by Kelly Roher? You were giving your support to that thug dad and now flip-flopped? Hopefully the NAPT comes to its senses and cancels this "world tour" by this "parent" who THREATENED TO KILL CHILDREN on a school bus. And while the media continues to report just the bits and pieces that gives them ratings, the mindless drones will continue to join the bandwagon of this thug dad. Don't just get the truth, get the facts. Facts like the parents NEVER called the school. The truth that the thud dad knew nothing of any incidents until that day. The fact that this so-called "model parent" was arrested before. The truth that the mom has changed her story to now say her daughter was standing up for someone else. There are more holes in their stories than in swiss cheese. And it seems the holes are now in the heads of Kelly Roher and the NAPT. It is a slap in the face of every bus driver and attendant that works on a school bus nationwide. Shame on anyone that continues to give this thug dad another 15 minutes of "infamy".

Louie    |    Sep 30, 2010 04:35 AM

While the school districts frowned on the Dad's action and the Dad also went on to state in his press conference that her was "sorry" for his actions there is an overwhelming "way to go" mentality with parents and the general public. While it may seem comfortable to sit back and let the law or systems handle the situation what is glaringly obvious is that bullying on the school bus is a serious problem that needs a lot more than sitting back and waiting for someone else to address it. As a Transportation Director I am glad this happened early in the school year, it gave me an opportunity to train and support my drivers. Formalized meetings with your district support staff, Law enforcement and/or other community organization who care about such matters. Sitting on your hands is not the right answer. A formalized and documented effort is in order. Our due diligence is to take action. 1) Research via SBF, other magazines, news stories; the internet is full of great web sites. 2) Meet with drivers, share stories, review the recent news article, show videos, talk and document strategies. 3) Introduce each and every student, Who has the privilege of riding our school bus, to the new and improved No Bullies Allowed campaign (or whatever you want to call it). 4) Pledge your personal and professional support to your drivers. 5) Follow-up. It's a sad event that's probably happened a few times already but less publicity, it is also an "Ah-Ha" moment that everyone in the industry needs to take action with. Enjoy the Journey!

Big Train    |    Sep 27, 2010 11:57 AM

I was a school bus driver for six years in "The Bible Belt" of NC, and I had numerous situations where parents or motorists wanted to storm my bus and take matters into their own hands. I refused to let them on board (according to my jurisdiction's policy). If I had lt the threatening parties board my bus, who knows what might have happened? I wrote a novel (published) titled School Bus 113 portraying our nation's out-of-control students, parents, school officials, local and state governments, and society in general. What happens on and off school buses (incidents and how they are handled or bungled) is a reflection of the deterioriating moral values of our society, our culture, and, sadly, our nation. America must address this issue at the grass roots level much like the Tea Party did and not let up until the families see the light. I agree with Ms. Byrne's comments regarding having Mr. Jones speak at the NAPT convention. Or, why not let someone like me who was on the firing line also participate? There are two sides to every story, but unfortunately this story has many sides. This incident and the attention it is drawing may be the wake-up call we need to right our sinking ship.

John Gunderson    |    Sep 24, 2010 12:13 AM

I had a father get on my bus last year and threaten the kids if they touched his child. I was more afraid of him than when I was held up at gun-point at a local restaurant.

Sue Parker    |    Sep 23, 2010 07:52 PM

In Missouri, where I was a transportation director for 35 years, "tresspass of a school bus" is a crime. If his actions were not criminal under Florida law, certainly Mr. Jones was guilty of a gross lack of judgement. He should have sought help from the school for the bullying to which his daughter was subjected, and, as the NAPT white paper states, the school should have been ready to take appropriate action to stop the bullying behavior. I commend NAPT for issuing the white paper on bullying, but I believe that NAPT should not give Mr. Jones any recognition by including him as a member of a panel on bullying when he, himself, acted like a bully and made threats to the students on the bus. Had he injured someone, would he be invited to Portland? I think not.

Mike Byrne    |    Sep 23, 2010 07:11 PM

You have got to be kidding!

Ralph    |    Sep 23, 2010 05:42 PM

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