School board members request action from elected officials

COLUMBUS, Ga. — New efforts are underway by some members of the Muscogee County School Board. This, as the school district faces a $25 million dollar lawsuit, following an incident with an alternative school student last year, who eventually lost his leg in surgery after reportedly being body-slammed multiple times. The efforts also come after a deadly school bus incident in 2016.

School board members: Frank Myers, John Thomas, Vanessa Jackson and Mark Cantrell are all calling on the GBI to investigate the cases of student, Montravious Thomas and the late bus driver, Roy Newman.

“I don’t want the public to sit and think , “well by not saying nothing..are they hiding nothing?”‘ says Mark Cantrell.

Muscogee County School Board member Mark Cantrell joined other board members: Frank Myers, John Thomas and Vanessa Jackson in reaching out to eight Georgia elected officials. The document sent Monday was written in an effort to get the GBI to investigate two big cases in the Muscogee County School District. The first surrounds a 2016 accident with school bus driver Roy Newman.

“I mean the man is dead,” says Frank Myers.

Students were injured in that incident. The second, involves the alleged body-slamming of then 13-year-old Montravious Thomas at Edgewood Student Services in September 2016. The district is now facing a $25 million dollar lawsuit in that case. Myers explains the purpose of Monday’s letter to elected officials.

“To ask the Governor and seven Superior Court Judges to give us some relief and bring in law enforcement so we can find out what happened about this and other potential wrongdoing in the district,” says Frank Myers.

Monday’s effort is similar to another one that happened months ago, with just two school board members. Back in July, only Myers and Thomas requested Superior Court judges to ask the GBI investigate school district wrongdoing. But that motion failed during a school board meeting. Cantrell explains why he believes the GBI needs to step in and investigate the case surrounding Montravious.

“By not calling an ambulance…that probably was the biggest mistake,” says Cantrell.

According to the lawsuit, on Montravious’ first day of school, he was reportedly body-slammed multiple times by a contracted behavioral specialist. The incident allegedly resulted in the student losing his leg in surgery.

School board member Vanessa Jackson provided a statement, responding to her part in Monday’s letter. Her statement reads, “If the GBI can help us to get to a point of closure so that we can access the findings, address the challenges and move forward, then we need to get it done. It’s simply what’s best for Muscogee County School.”

School board member John Thomas is also weighing in. He provided a statement which reads, “Our request for action is as much a response to the petition presented to the board at the most recent official meeting as it is an expression of frustration for the perceived lack of transparency in the entire situation.”

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