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Board OKs bus driver's resignation

By By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
May 17, 2002
The Lauderdale County School Board approved the resignation of Michelle Smith as a bus driver for the school district on Thursday during a regularly scheduled meeting.
Smith was driving a school bus on April 29 when Ashton Belk, a West Lauderdale kindergarten student, was injured after being caught in the door of the bus. The child was reportedly dragged some distance before the bus stopped.
Smith's job as a physical education teacher's aid at West Lauderdale Elementary School was unaffected by her resignation.
David Little, Lauderdale County superintendent, said the school district's attorney, John Compton, advised officials not to talk about the incident because Belk's parents have retained an attorney and there is a possibility of litigation.
Ashton's father, Kenny Belk, confirmed Thursday that he has hired Philadelphia attorney Dan Mars.
Belk said this was Ashton's first full week back at school since the incident, in which she suffered abrasions on her legs.
The mishap occurred when Ashton was picked up for school at her bus stop on Highway 495. School officials suspended Smith from her bus-driving duties the following day as an investigation into the incident began.
Smith's resignation was effective April 29, the day the accident occurred.
Kenny Belk referred other questions to his attorney, who could not be reached for comment.