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Lawyer Scoffs at Portrayal of Kid Whose School Bus Ouster Led to Criminal Charges Against Principal

Posted Apr 19, 2012 6:50 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A lawyer for a West Virginia school principal says the public hasn't learned the whole story in the prosecution of his client for forcibly ejecting a boy from a school bus.

The Point Pleasant intermediate school principal, Cameron Moffett, is facing a civil suit as well as a criminal charge of felony child abuse for the way he removed 11-year-old Zachary Plants from a school bus last month, the Charleston Daily Mail reports.

Moffett is accused of throwing Plants to the floor, pushing him down the bus steps, and subduing him with his knee. Portions of bus video of the incident were released by a lawyer who filed a civil suit against Moffett, according to the Charleston Gazette and MyDailyRegister.com.

The Gazette has the video, which includes audio of Plants screaming “I’m sorry” as Moffett forces him down the aisle. The suit claims the boy was in trouble for refusing to move out of the bus aisle after other children had pushed him there.

Moffett's lawyer Jim Lees, says the public has seen only selected portions of the video favoring Plants. Lees says the boy took a swing at Moffett, and police would have used similar force to remove the boy. Lees also criticized as misleading reports that Plants is a special needs student. The term also includes children with behavioral issues, he said.

"They're acting like this kid is a Special Olympics kid," Lees complained.

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