A Florida father who stormed onto a school bus and threatened children because his 13-year-old disabled daughter had been bullied is apologizing for the way he handled the situation.
James Willie Jones said in a statement to The Associated Press on Monday that he is sorry for his “inappropriate use of language and for the way I handled the situation.” But he says his daughter suffers from cerebral palsy and he “could not stand by and helplessly watch her suffer.”
“As a dad, my No. 1 priority is providing for and protecting my children,” he said in a statement released to the AP. “Since the school year started, my wife and I noticed that our daughter had become increasingly distraught about school and riding the school bus, but she wouldn’t tell us exactly why.
“As the involved parent of a child who suffers from cerebral palsy, it broke my heart. When I walked my daughter to the bus that morning, she broke down in tears and finally told me about the bullies who had tormented her on the school bus. She was afraid.
“In the heat of the moment, I wanted to confront the individuals who had bullied my daughter and the authority figure who failed to protect her. I sincerely apologize for my inappropriate use of language and for the way I handled the situation. As the protector of my daughter I could not stand by and helplessly watch her suffer.”
Jones plans to hold a news conference with his attorney Tuesday to answer questions related to his arrest.
He was charged last week with disorderly conduct and disturbing a school function for the Sept. 3 incident in Sanford, just north of Orlando. He later posted $2,000 bail and was ordered to stay away from the driver and county school buses.
The girl had to be hospitalized because of stress from the confrontation, Jones’ attorney, Natalie Jackson, said last week. She said Jones told deputies he complained to Seminole County school administrators in the past but nothing had been done to help the girl.