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Civil Rights Lawsuit Settlement: “I’m Still Really Angry”

The settlement of a civil rights lawsuit offered money but little satisfaction for a mother whose biracial son was pinned in the doors of a Davis School District bus earlier this year.

“I’m still really angry,” Brenda Mayes said.

Five months after the bus incident and two months after filing a lawsuit, Mayes’ attorney and the school district settled for $62,500. But it provided no end to Mayes’ frustration with the district and its former bus driver.

“Even with the settlement, I want to know how the school district is going to change,” Mayes said.

In February, Mayes’ 7th grade biracial son was with other students exiting the bus outside of West Point Junior High, when the bus driver suddenly shut the door on her son’s backpack and then took off with him dangling from the bus for about 20 seconds.

“It’s been traumatizing for all of us. But he’s doing good,” Mayes said of her son.

Mayes says she tried to work things out with the school district between February and May, when she filed a lawsuit against the district and its driver.

The complaint alleges that the driver pinned her son intentionally because of his race. It also says that had the school district acted on previous complaints against the driver, “this wouldn’t have happened.”

“If they’re just going to pay off a lawsuit with no change, no policy, no corrective action,” Mayes said, “that’s bad spending.”

The driver was no longer with the school district when the lawsuit was filed in May. And shortly after it was filed, the district says it held an “implicit bias training” for all bus drivers.

“’That’s a great start,” Mayes said of the training.

In response to the settlement, the district said it does not comment on litigation, but added “we take these matters very seriously and do everything we can to protect students.”

But the fight continues for Mayes.

“They have to make some change to protect these kids. And I’ll keep showing up or speaking out until they do.”

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