Parents file lawsuit against bus driver, school

LISBON – The parent of two former West Branch students filed a civil lawsuit this week in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court, claiming one of her children was assaulted by a bus driver last spring.

Paula May, listed as the parent and natural guardian of Zachary Reilly and Mackenzie Hoffield, notes her children were students at Knox Elementary on April 9, 2013. On that date, they were both reportedly riding on a bus driven by Albert Johnston.

The lawsuit claims the boy, who was 7 years old at the time, was “maliciously assaulted and battered” by Johnston. Additionally, it claims the assault was witnessed by the girl, who was 9 years old. Not only does the lawsuit claim the boy suffered injuries which required hospitalization and other medical treatment but also emotional distress. Additionally, the lawsuit claims mental anguish for the girl due to her witnessing the alleged assault.

The lawsuit seeks in excess of $25,000 from the bus driver along with relief from the school district, the board of education, Superintendent Scott Weingart and the school’s transportation supervisor, Sherri Malloy. The lawsuit contends the school district and those working there failed to properly train and monitor the bus driver.

According to the lawsuit, which was filed by Steven J. Brian of North Canton, May now resides in College Station, Texas.