A school bus driver and others who may have saved two children from being abducted last month were recognized during Wednesday night’s meeting of the Hillsboro City Schools Board of Education.
The incident happened Sept. 1 and transportation supervisor Ron Ward said that bus driver Roger Sarver went above and beyond the call of duty in handling the situation.
Following is a written account of the episode that Ward shared with board members at the meeting:
“On Sept. 1, an aunt of two Hillsboro City Schools elementary-age students came to the elementary school and met with (Hillsboro Intermediate School Principal Tim) Davis and gave him a copy of a court order from Adams County, Ohio Juvenile Court. The order gave the aunt custody of the two children until further order of the court. The order was worded, ‘while in the state of Ohio.’ The aunt gave Mr. Davis the impression that she believed the father of the children and his girlfriend may try to get the kids and flee the state, as they were leaving for North Dakota that night.
“At the end of the school day Mr. Davis accompanied the two students out to their bus driver, Roger Sarver, and briefed him on the situation as the students were scheduled to ride the bus to the aunt’s house.
“As the bus approached the bus stop on Sanders Road, (Sarver) observed two females at the end of the drive in what appeared to be a verbal altercation. As he started to stop the bus, the girlfriend of the father demanded he stop and she was getting the children off the bus. He closed the service door and kept the bus going forward. He radioed in the situation to me, I called the sheriff’s office and requested a deputy immediately.
“Mr. Sarver radioed that he was stationary approximately three-quarters of a mile down the road at a turnaround awaiting the sheriff’s office with the students onboard. Mr. Davis and myself went to the location of the bus and awaited the arrival of a sheriff’s deputy. We went to the house and spoke with the aunt and she told us that the girlfriend had showed up at her house and said she was taking the kids and was headed to North Dakota. (The aunt) asked (the girlfriend) to leave and she refused, but left shortly after the bus came and the driver said he was calling the police.
“It is the opinion of Mr. Davis and myself that the girlfriend was there in an attempt to get the kids off the bus without the aunt knowing and be out of state very rapidly in an effort to circumvent the order of the court and possibly commit a felony abduction. The efforts of the bus driver prevented this from occurring and the students were reunited with the aunt, who has lawful custody.”
Sarver, who was presented a token of appreciation from the school board, said he has been a bus driver in Hillsboro for 11 years and in Arizona for four years before that.
“I just want to thank everyone,” Sarver said. “My main thing was just keeping my students safe.”
Ward said Sarver and all the Hillsboro bus drivers go above and beyond the call of duty to make sure students get to and home from school safely.
“We have a super transportation department and I hear that all the time from parents, teachers and principals,” superintendent Jim Smith said. “…This is kind of typical of the societal issues we face today. It’s tougher than it used to be.”
Also during the meeting, Hillsboro curriculum department specialists Alicia Sellins and Shelley Beumer gave a report on the district’s standardized testing progress.
They said that in the past three years the Hillsboro schools have had three different report card formats and three different state tests. They noted:
• In 2013-14, it was the Ohio Achievement Assessments (OAA) and the Ohio Graduation Test (OGT) that students had been taking since 2005.
• In 2014-15, it was the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) for English and math, and the Ohio State Test (OST) for science and social studies.
• In 2015-16, English and math also moved to the OST.
They said the district’s three-year report card trends show the following:
• When the district moves to new tests, its scores and report card ratings decrease.
• In 2013-14, the last year of the OAA/OGT, almost every measure increased on the district’s report card. The district’s Overall Value-Added rating was an “A.”
• In 2014-15, the year of the PARCC and OST, every single measure declined on the report card. The district’s Overall Value-Added rating decreased to “F.” They said there was some discrepancy because schools like Hillsboro that used computer-based testing scored lower than districts that used paper-based testing.
• In 2015-16, with the OST for English and math, those test scores decreased, but science and social studies increased. The district’s Overall Value-Added rating increased to a “D.”
In a handout to the board, Sellins and Beumer noted, “With consistency in the tests we can raise our ratings over time like we did in the OAA/OGT years, and like we have increased social studies and science scores in one year. …We will use the data the state has given us to improve.”
The goal, the specialists said, is to increase the academic rigor of the district’s instruction to match the rigor of the Ohio Learning Standards, thereby increase the scores.
In other news from the meeting:
• Smith noted that work on four practice fields – two for football and two for soccer – should begin next week. He said the new concession/restroom building at the soccer/track stadium is pretty much done except for installation of some hardware, and that the Sam Barnhouse Center behind the middle school that will house weightlifting and wrestling facilities, should tentatively be functional by Jan. 1.
• Treasurer Ben Teeters noted that nearly $13,000 in donations have come in for the Sam Barnhouse Memorial Fund, and that more is likely to come in.
• Supplemental contracts were approved for the following: Gary Breeden, eighth grade girls basketball; Zach Cowan, seventh grade girls basketball; Terry Dean, assistant boys basketball; Chad Fields, eighth grade boys basketball; Kordell Ford, elementary wrestling; Jacob Fouch, freshman boys basketball; Jenny Gleadle, reserve girls basketball; Trevor Gleadle, seventh grade boys basketball; Tayler Hauke, middle school basketball cheerleading; Ryan Hopkins, varsity assistant girls basketball; Jenna Horick, high school assistant basketball cheerleading; James Jones, head wrestling; Teresa Marion, boys and girls swimming; Adam McGinnis, reserve basketball; Bruce Miles, head boys basketball; Jeff Miller, head bowling; JR Moberly, head girls basketball; Greg Rhoades, high school assistant wrestling; Rob Snavely, National Honor Society; Sarah Weisner, quick recall; Shannon Yochum, head basketball cheerleading.
The following volunteers were also approved: Matthew Bourne, swimming; Michael Eakins, girls basketball; Shane Ison, bowling; Jaxsun Miller, bowling; Jeremy Ratcliff, wrestling; and Cathy Rhoades, bowling.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.