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Stow-Munroe Falls investigates allegation of racial segregation on a schoolbus

An investigation is underway by Stow-Munroe Falls City Schools following accusations of racial segregation on a district school bus.

According to a report Oct. 11 by WOIO Cleveland 19, an unnamed parent of a Stow-Munroe Falls Schools student told the station that one of the district’s bus drivers had been seating children on the bus according to skin color.

The district has not revealed which school or bus route in the district is being investigated. The Spotlight reached out to the school board and Superintendent Tom Bratten for comment and was told an updated statement on the investigation is expected shortly.

According to the 19 News report, the unidentified mother said: “I received a phone call from my child, and they stated that the bus driver had separated the Black kids from the white kids and had the Black kids move up to the front of the bus, and they couldn’t sit in the back of the bus with the other white kids.”

When she spoke with staff at the school, she was told bus seating places had been altered because of behavioral issues with students.

She told 19 News the official had said the school could sit students wherever they wished.

“I was basically saying, I’m a Black parent, you’re telling me you have the right to sit the Black kids in the front, separated away from the white kids, that’s segregation,” said the mother.

The mother emailed the district asking that the driver be placed on leave while the investigation is conducted.

Stow-Munroe Falls Schools released a statement to 19 News that read in part: “The district initiated a full investigation, and since then, the district has had multiple communications with the parent regarding her concerns and the status of the district’s investigation. While that investigation is still ongoing, preliminary information gathered thus far shows students of different races dispersed in seats throughout the bus. The district does not condone discrimination or segregation in any form and will take timely, appropriate measures in the event these allegations are found to be substantiated.”

The Spotlight will publish updates in a separate story as we learn more.