Bus driver charged with criminal abuse of mentally disabled student

Published 5:05 pm Wednesday, March 29, 2023

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A former Lincoln County bus driver has been charged with first-degree criminal abuse for allegedly abusing a disabled student on the bus.

According to court records, Linda L. Rowe, of Waynesburg, has been charged with first-degree criminal abuse. Rowe was not arrested but has been summoned to appear in Lincoln County District Court at 1 p.m. on April 17.

The Criminal Complaint Summons, prepared by LCHS School Resource Officer Chase Marcum, states that on Feb. 16, Rowe got up from her seat and went to the back of the bus to confront a juvenile.

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“Once in the back of the bus the Respondent (Rowe) wraps her arms around the victim from behind and pulls her from the seat and physically moves her to another seat,” the complaint states.

The juvenile then returned to her original seat.

“After a short conversation, the Respondent (Rowe) grabbed the juvenile by the hair of her head and yanked her down by the hair into her seat for a few seconds,” the complaint states.

The juvenile victim, who is classified as “Functional Mentally Disabled” then manages to break free of Rowe.

“The Respondent (Rowe) then grabs her by the hair a second time and pulls her into the seat,” the complaint states.

First-degree criminal abuse is a Class C felony in Kentucky.

Rowe was served with the court summons on Feb. 21, according to the police citation.

According to a statement from Lincoln County Communications Director Brad Smith, the incident was reported to officials on Feb. 17, the following day.

“Upon receiving the allegations, school officials immediately removed the bus driver from the route and began an internal investigation assisted by SRO Chase Marcum from the Stanford Police Department,” Smith said.

Based on the evidence presented from the investigation, the criminal charges were filed against Rowe.

Lincoln County Superintendent Michael Rowe – who is not related to the accused – said Linda Rowe is no longer employed by the Lincoln County School District.

“We value the safety of our students and strive to provide a safe learning environment for them in our hallways and on our school buses,” Superintendent Rowe said. “We will not tolerate this sort of behavior from staff or students. Our staff should be leaders and setting the example for our students. We are very disappointed about this situation.”