11/28/06 — Woman to answer charges of assault

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Woman to answer charges of assault

By Lee Williams
Published in News on November 28, 2006 1:45 PM

A Goldsboro woman faces charges for allegedly assaulting a school bus driver who was trying to quell an altercation that erupted between four students at Grantham School earlier this month.

Della Jane Newsome, 56, of Weaver Road, was charged with assault on a school employee in connection with an incident that occurred at about 5:15 p.m. Nov. 14. Ms. Newsome was released from custody after posting a $500 bond, according to a Wayne County sheriff's report.

The charges stem from an allegation Ms. Newsome climbed on the bus and shoved Tyrenna Warren Murphy backwards, pushing her against a school bus handle bar.

At the time of the alleged assault, Ms. Murphy, 34, of Hood Drive, had opened the door of the school bus to allow a teacher to enter to render medical aid to a student.

Ms. Murphy applied for a warrant several days after the incident. A warrant for Ms. Newsome's arrest was served Nov. 22.

According to reports, at least two calls came into the 911 Dispatch Center requesting help from the Wayne County Sheriff's Department to quash a disturbance on the school bus between two girls on the bus and two girls outside of the bus.

Deputies responded to the scene but were turned away by the principal, who stated she knew all of the parties involved and would take care of the situation, Wayne County sheriff's officials said. No report was taken on the incident, officials added.

However, Wayne County Sheriff Carey Winders probed the matter further and determined that an argument had occurred between two girls ages 12 and 13 on the bus and two girls off the bus. An unconfirmed number of students were on the bus at the time of the incident.

Winders said the school bus driver intervened to contain the argument.

"They locked the door to keep them on the bus because it was two people outside of the bus," Winders said. "The two girls on the bus ... hyperventilated and the two girls who were trying to provoke the fight left."

Winders said the initial call made it sound worse than it really was.

"When the call came out, it sounded like the principal was on the bus being attacked by the students, but that was not the case," he said.

At the outset, there were conflicting reports about what occurred at the school.

Ken Derksen, public relations officer for Wayne County Public Schools, said the incident occurred on the school grounds but was not part of the school program. He said there was a 4-H after school program at Grantham.

He said when he spoke with the principal on Nov. 16, he was told that a parent and grandparent had come to the school grounds. The grandmother allegedly boarded the bus and pushed the driver, Derksen said.

Derksen said at the time that there was a possibility the bus driver would press charges. Lisa Tart, the school's principal, was also working with the central office to prevent the mother and grandmother from coming back onto the school grounds, he said.

According to reports, Ms. Newsome did not have any children on the bus when the incident occurred.

A Jan. 8 court date has been set.