Kentucky Bus Driver Humiliates Boy With Tourette Syndrome, Mother Claims

A Kentucky mother is outraged after she says her son’s bus driver humiliated him over an incident that took place on the bus earlier this week.

According to Lex 18,Jacob Bledsoe, 10, has Tourette syndrome, which causes him to have outbursts that he has no control over; many times, the outbursts, or tics, involve swearing. Jacob’s mother, Leona Dickerson, said his bus driver was aware of his condition, but still harshly scolded him in front of a bus full of students.

“He can’t control it,” Dickerson said of her son, who is a fifth grade student at Glenn R. Marshall Elementary School in Richmond. “He is devastated. As soon as he got off the bus, I could tell something was wrong.”

“And the bus driver, when he goes to get off the bus, grabs him by the shirt, she pulls him back and tells him that his swearing tics are inappropriate for the bus and for school and that he needed to stop,” Dickerson continued. “For a 10-year-old child to not have any control over what his body does, it’s heartbreaking.”

She added: “They don’t deserve to be treated any different than anyone else.”

Dickerson reported the incident, and now the Madison County Schools are investigating. They issued the following statement.

“After being notified of the situation, the district immediately began an investigation regarding the incident on bus 230 yesterday afternoon. As with any incident of alleged misconduct, the district will conduct a thorough investigation that will include video footage taken from the bus security camera. Any necessary action will be taken immediately at the conclusion of the investigation.”

The school district later issued another statement saying they found no wrong doing by the bus driver after reviewing the bus’s video footage and interviewing the bus driver and the other students who witnessed the incident. The evidence “made it clear the driver was not harassing or humiliating the student involved. This situation has, however, given us the opportunity to do some additional education with our staff and students regarding Tourette’s Syndrome,” the school said.


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What is Tourette Syndrome?

According to,Tourette syndrome is a neurological disorder that causes “involuntary, repetitive movements and vocalizations,” and usually appears between the ages of 5 and 7. There are two types of tics: motor tics and vocal/phonic tics.

Motor tics are characterized by movement, and can include: eye blinking, facial grimacing, jaw movements, head bobbing/jerking, shoulder shrugging, neck stretching, and arm jerking; hopping, twirling, and jumping are more severe.

Vocal/phonic tics involve sound and can include sniffing, throat clearing, grunting, hooting, and shouting. As in Jacob’s case, 10 to 15 percent of vocal tics include inappropriate words (swear words, racial slurs, etc.).

Although Tourette syndrome is prevalent in all races, ethnic groups and ages, it is three to four times more likely to occur in boys than girls. According to studies, one out of 160 children in the United States have Tourette syndrome, which means there are approximately 300,000 kids with the disorder. Although there is no cure, there are some treatments for those who are suffering from tics. Common treatments include medication and behavioral treatments, such as awareness training and competing response training. These are just a few of the treatments available.

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