Student Grabbed by School Bus Driver Wins $45,000 Settlement

Posted on January 11, 2019

DULUTH, Minn. — A school bus company here has agreed to a $45,000 settlement with the mother of a boy whose school bus driver grabbed him to make him sit up in his seat in 2016, Duluth News Tribune reports.

Court documents stated that the incident occurred in December 2016, when the Voyageur Bus Co. driver reportedly grabbed the boy’s shoulders and the collar of his shirt, according to the newspaper. The boy, 7 years old at the time, had been lying on the seat, according to court documents, and wouldn’t sit up when told to by the driver. Robert Mathias, the attorney for the boy’s family, told Duluth News Tribune that the driver grabbed the student at two stops, and did so in an attempt to make him sit up to accommodate another student in the seat.

After the incident occurred, the boy reportedly experienced several problems, including nightmares, angry outbursts, less interest in activities, and bedwetting, and was referred to trauma-focused therapy, according to the newspaper. The lawsuit originated in April, and stated that the bus driver caused the boy “embarrassment, physical discomfort, and emotional distress.” The lawsuit sought over $50,000 in damages.

In the early stages of the case, the bus company denied wrongdoing, citing state statute and its allowance for reasonable use of force by a school bus driver “to restrain a child or pupil, or to prevent bodily harm or death to another." (It is not known whether the driver faced any consequences for the incident, according to Duluth News Tribune.) Mathias told the newspaper that the incident didn’t meet use of force standards. In November, the bus company agreed in District Court to pay the sum and avoid trial, according to the newspaper. Of the $45,000 total in damages and fees, $25,775 will go into an interest-bearing account that the now 8-year-old boy will access later. The settlement was approved this week.

To read the full story, go here.

Related Topics: behavior management, legal issues, Minnesota

Comments ( 1 )
  • Alexander Rogge

     | about 25 minutes ago

    I never knew that pushing a child up in his bus seat could cause so many psychological problems. I fall asleep in seats and often don't even notice I'm being moved by vehicle motion or by other people. If being pushed up by the shoulders can win a lawsuit, I should win a lawsuit for the years of physical and verbal bullying by students, the abuses by educators, and the bus drivers screaming at unruly passengers every week and threatening to hold everyone on the bus and drive back to the school if the bus didn't get quiet. My daily experience in public school was really traumatic and did cause "a persistently negative outlook, irritability, angry outbursts, problems concentrating, and more." Maybe the victims of bullying by students and educators in schools today should look seriously into filing lawsuits for claims of psychological distress.

More Stories
New technology can play a role in ehancing safety, and several items on display at the NAPT trade show were created to help prevent fatal school bus crashes. File photo

Tech Advancements Offer Hope Amid Student Tragedies

It is essential that the motorists who share the road with bus drivers stop for stopped school buses. However, it is encouraging to see how technology is evolving to help provide an even safer ride for all students.


New Transportation Technology Tools for 2019

Illuminated safety products, driver training solutions, a video surveillance system, and an artificial intelligence-powered stop arm are just some of the options to look for in the new year.

Toledo Public Schools transportation team members, shown here, worked together to identify and organize actionable data using a five-step process. Brad Aemisegger, director of transportation, is pictured far left in the top row.

5 Steps to Successful Data-Driven Decision-Making

Collaborating to identify actionable data, creating common access, and establishing a system to organize it are some of the steps Toledo (Ohio) Public Schools took to achieve more efficient decision-making.

Be the First to Know

Get the latest news and most popular articles from SBF delivered straight to your inbox. Stay on top of the school bus industry and don't miss a thing!