Bus driver in scuffle with student haunted by incident

This photo shows the scratches Delores Rainwater received in the scuffle.
This photo shows the scratches Delores Rainwater received in the scuffle.
A still frame from on board video shows the fight.
A still frame from on board video shows the fight.

SUMTER COUNTY, SC (WIS) - A Crestwood High School student is facing an assault charge and a bus driver is out of a job after the two scuffled on a Sumter County school bus. 

Just last week, the driver who appealed her termination was told the decision would stand. Meanwhile, the district won't discuss the student's punishment.

The March 1st incident haunts 61-year-old bus driver Delores Rainwater.

"I lay in my bed for two hours at night sometimes and it just goes through my mind over and over, what could I have done different what could I have said different, I did not want this to come to this," said Rainwater.

The altercation left scratches on Rainwater's face, resulting in simple assault charges against 17-year-old Jasmine Robinson. The argument started over Rainwater's jacket on the bus seat.

"When I turned and looked and I said, 'What did you do with my coat,' she wouldn't answer me," said Rainwater. "She just stared at me, and I said to her, 'Don't look at me like that, all I asked you to do, this is on the video also, is just what did you do with my coat?'"

Robinson told Sheriff's investigators a different story, claiming Rainwater said, "See that's why you don't have any friends, and If you was my child I would bust your butt."

Rainwater says she did mumble under her breath a bit.

"She said, 'If you don't shut up I'm going to slap you,'" said Rainwater.

At one point Rainwater pulled the bus over and was going to call police, but students convinced Robinson to move to the middle of the bus.  It was when Rainwater stood up like she always does as students were getting off at school, that's when she claims Robinson started the fight.  We've learned it's not the first problem on the bus.

"They even put a monitor on this bus with me for about five weeks," said Rainwater.

She said she's filled out many referral notes on students at Crestwood High, six on at least one student alone this year for not following the rules.

"I enforce bus rules," said Rainwater.

All parents in Sumter signed a form this school year claiming they read the bus rules and understand them.

The district's COO said, "In my estimation, much of your version of the incident is contrary to the evidence available."

WIS took the video to criminal defense attorney Jack Swerling, who said it could very easily have been a more serious charge.

"Clearly she did strike her, and as I understand it, there are some injuries," said Swerling. "So, it could justify a second degree assault instead of a third degree assault."

The Sumter County School Board will not be hearing an appeal from Rainwater. The district's policy only allows for contractual employees to appeal before the board.

"It's always upsetting to see young people be disrespectful to older people," said Swerling. "It's not something that when I grew up we would ever think about doing. It seems to be a lot more of a problem today than when I was growing up. We would never have done something like that."

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