Monday, September 01, 2008

Bus driver charged with child abuse

CBS4 reports:

HOLLYWOOD (CBS4) ― A Broward County school bus driver was arrested earlier this year on child abuse charges after being videotaped on Sept. 26th, striking two severely disabled children with a metal pipe, records showed, and in court on Thursday, he entered into a plea agreement.

Michael Clough told the court, "I was wrong, and I accept responsibility for my actions".

Joel Malkin, a father of one of the victims, told CBS4 Reporter Joan Murray outside the courtroom, "I feel the punishment is fitting the crime".

Clough, 65, agreed to surrender on Nov 3rd, at which time he will spend one year in jail, then one year of house arrest followed by five years probation. In addition, he offered a public apology to families whose children he hit. The incident, which had been under investigation since September, is one of at least three that schools employees failed to report to the state's child abuse hot line in a timely manner, causing a rift between school officials and local child welfare administrators.

In the aftermath of the these incidents, Broward Superintendent Jim Notter sent a memo to all principals and other administrators reminding them that they are required under state law to report all suspicions of child abuse. All drivers went to a child abuse training seminar.

The court ruled that if Clough should fail to surrender, a warrant will be issued and he could spend ten years in jail.