Bus Driver Resigns Over Suspected Use of Corporal Punishment
By Scott Gustin and Deven Swartz, Staff Writers

A Rockingham County substitute bus driver and teacher assistant faces assault charges after an alleged incident in which she used corporal punishment on a student.

Penny Hylton was charged Monday with assault on a child less than 12 years old. She was on her way to a magistrate as of Monday afternoon, Rockingham County deputies said.

She was suspended with pay following an alleged May 25 incident when she used corporal punishment on a student on exceptional children's bus 335.

Video footage from the school bus's camera system showed Hylton getting up from her chair and talking to an exceptional student. School officials said they think the student was trying to get out of her seat belt.

The video shows Hylton telling the student in a loud voice, "You want me to pop you again?"

"You can't see it on the video and can't hear it, but we feel like she popped the child on the leg," said Rockingham County Schools superintendent Dr. Rodney Shotwell.

A monitor on Bus 335 reported the incident to an assistant principal at Huntsville Elementary School. School officials then began an investigation by first checking the video footage from the bus's camera system.

After the review of video footage, the District personnel office was notified of the allegations and investigation, which resulted in Hylton being suspended with pay.

Hylton was supposed to meet with Shotwell but resigned on June 1 before the meeting was scheduled to take place, Shotwell said.

Hylton has been a school bus driver, teacher assistant and exceptional children's bus monitor for Bethany Elementary and Huntsville Elementary schools.

On August 18, Hylton transferred to Huntsville Elementary as a full-time teacher assistant and on August 25, as a full-time teacher assistant and exceptional children's bus monitor.

Shotwell said the student is back in school, and spanking any students will not be accepted.

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