Mother Banned From Son’s School After She Confronts Bullies On Bus

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The School district said she boarded bus illegally

A mother is now fighting for access to her son’s Pittsburgh-area elementary school after she was banned by the district – following a school bus confrontation over bullying back in August 2017.

Tammy Aikins boarded her child’s school bus and began yelling at students on the bus who she believed bullied one of her two sons.

“You. No. Look at me. Look at me. I’m his mom. I’m his mom. I will not have you bully my 5-year-old son. You know what you did. I’m not doing it. I hope everybody hears me. I’m not doing it this year,” said Aikins.

In a 5-page letter Aikins’ attorney mailed to the Gateway School District, she wrote that Aikins was banned from her son’s elementary school building, field trips, and also stripped of her role as a “home-room mom” after the bus incident. The ban continued for months and is currently still in place.

The letter said that Aikins received permission from the bus driver to enter the bus and that she never cursed or touched any kids. However, the permission claim is disputed.

The school district says that Aikins did not have permission to board the vehicle. 

Aikins said that Monroeville Police showed up at her home to investigate the incident and determined that no law had been broken and ultimately, no charges were filed.

But, Aikins’ ban continued at her son’s school. 

During that period, she said she was allowed to continue her role substitute teaching for the district. She said that she was permitted to set foot in every district school building except for her sons’.

Aikins has threatened to sue the school district if they did not give her permission to visit her son’s school. But so far, that permission has not been granted. 

Meanwhile, Aikins said that she has also filed a lawsuit against a fellow parent, Janette Beighel.

Beighel was named in Aikins’ letter to the school district, specifically that Beighel’s children said they were afraid of Aikins following the school bus incident. 

She wrote that Aikins children said they were in turn afraid of Beighel.

Beighel confirmed to media houses that Aikins had filed a lawsuit against her citing claims of bullying, harassment, and defamation. However, Beighel said the claims were untrue.

“She broke the law entering the bus. Charges should have been filed,” Beighel said.

Beighel said that no one knew which child Aikins was yelling at on the bus but that her two children were frightened by the yelling. 

The Mother said she made a phone call to the elementary school principal and later spoke with the superintendent about the matter.

“She boarded a bus and yelled at minor children. She broke the law,” said Beighel.

Aikins said to WTAE TV that the district provided Beighel a different video than the copy they provided her attorney. Aikins said that in Beighel’s version, one can hear the bus driver give verbal permission for Aikins to enter the bus. 

The district reportedly sent one version of the video to WTAE TV in which the explicit permission to enter cannot be heard.

Anyone can judge me for getting on the bus. That’s fine. That’s your perogative. But my children, I want them to know no matter what, I have their back,” said Aikins.

Beighel said that she has pulled her kids off the school bus because of the incident and does not think it is in the school district’s best interest to keep Aikins employed.

According to the Pennsylvania law practice of RC Kelly Law Associates, the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statute, 18 Pa. C.S. §5517, states:

“A person who enters a school bus without prior authorization of the driver or a school official with intent to commit a crime or disrupt or interfere with the driver or a person who enters a school bus without prior authorization of the driver or a school official who refuses to disembark after being ordered to so by the driver commits a misdemeanor of the third degree.”

The law firm specifically addressed situations like the Aikins case.

“Sometimes a parent may board a bus to ‘protect’ their child against bullies or for other reasons that may seem innocent. But tempers can escalate quickly and their presence is a threat … All parents should be informed that these situations should be addressed with the school district officials, not on a bus full of children.”

Aikins lawyer has written multiple times in her letter to the district that Aikins did have permission from the bus driver to enter and that she “did not curse or use inappropriate language.”

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