School bus-related crimes and incidents are making headlines. School Bus Fleet has a roundup of some of the recent incidents involving school buses. They include:
- Michigan school bus driver charged in sexual assault case.
- Former Texas school bus aide arrested after alleged attack.
- Student discharges gun on Texas school bus.
- Pennsylvania man pleads guilty to harassing daughter's school bus driver.
- Parents disagree with driver's response to to discipline issues on Louisiana school bus.
Michigan School Bus Driver Charged in Sexual Assault Case
A Muskegon (Michigan) Public Schools bus driver was charged with first degree criminal sexual misconduct. Court documents obtained by WZZM reveal the driver, Richard Elliott, lived in the same home as the 8-year-old victim, where the alleged incident occurred.
The boy told his father, who reported the incident to police.
The Muskegon County Sheriff's Office investigated and issued charges against Elliott.
Elliott was arrested on July 14. Investigators said they do not believe the victim was a student at Muskegon Public Schools.
Dean Transportation Services, which provides transportation to the school district, released a statement to WZZM, saying that Elliott was on an unpaid medical leave when they learned of the alleged incident; he remains on unpaid leave. The contractor also noted the incident did not involve Elliott's employment.
The contractor went on to say that all of its drivers must pass a criminal background check, public sex offender registry check, FBI national fingerprint-based background check and driving record check. Elliott passed all background checks when he was hired in December 2016.
Former Texas School Bus Aide Arrested After Alleged Attack
A former Conroe (Texas) Independent School District bus aide who was reportedly seen on video attacking a 17-year-old student on a bus was arrested. Video from the Aug. 10 incident showed Donald Tisdel allegedly hitting a student multiple times on a school bus picking up students at Conroe High School.
According to The Courier of Montgomery County, Tisdel was charged with assault causing bodily injury, a Class A misdemeanor. Class A misdemeanors are punishable by 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000.
In the video posted on social media, a student appears to be exiting a bus when a school district employee pushes him to the floor of the bus and hits him about four times. As the student tries to get up, the employee appears to push him back down several times. The student then gets up and turns toward the camera, where blood is seen on his head.
The Courier reported that the student was treated and released from an area hospital.
According to the arrest affidavit, bus surveillance video viewed by a school district police officer showed the beginning of the incident. Tisdel and the student reportedly engaged in an argument; Tisdel reportedly told the student, "put your hands on me, that's what I want."
The student is then seen moving quickly to the front of the bus where he bumps chests with Tisdel, who then reportedly pushed the student back, striking him several times with a water bottle, the affidavit stated.
A school spokesperson shared the district's statement with School Bus Fleet. It reads, "We were made aware of an incident in which a bus monitor in our Transportation Department physically attacked a student on a bus. We are disturbed by this unacceptable behavior which is not representative of our hundreds of hard-working transportation staff. The individual is no longer employed by the District, and the Conroe ISD Police Department is completing their investigation with the expectation of pursuing criminal charges."
Student Discharges Gun on Texas School Bus
Authorities in Seguin (Texas) are investigating, after a student reportedly fired a handgun while riding a school bus that was pulling into the Jefferson Elementary School parking lot on Aug. 22.
Seguin ISD reported that no one was injured, the discharge was an accident, and that the bus driver immediately recovered the handgun from the student. Initial reports showed that the student did not threaten anyone with the weapon. The district noted that the student was taken off campus during the investigation.
Students from several elementary schools were onboard at the time of the incident. The district notified parents of all students on the bus. School counselors were made available to students or parents who needed them.
The Seguin Police Department is investigating the incident. The district said it is cooperating with the investigation.
Pennsylvania Man Pleads Guilty to Harassing Daughter's School Bus Driver
A Pittson, Pennsylvania, man pleaded guilty to harasasing a school bus driver. According to court records obtained by Times Leader, Raymond Bartiromo was charged with entering a Pittston Area school bus while it was stopped, threatening the driver.
Bartiromo told police he was angry at the driver, who he claimed yelled at his daughter the day before.
During a preliminary hearing in August, police withdrew charges of unauthorized entry onto school bus, terroristic threats, and disorderly conduct against Bartiromo.
Bartiromo pleaded guilty to harassment and was fined $206.25.
Parents Disagree with Driver's Response to Discipline Issues on Louisiana School Bus
Parents of students on a Calcasieu (Louisiana) school bus whose driver pulled over due to student behavioral problems voiced frustration over the driver's decision. The driver pulled the bus over during the route on Aug. 16 because students were being too loud and some were getting out of their seats, according to KPLC.
When the bus pulled into a parking lot, students reportedly began calling their parents to say they were stuck on the bus and that it was hot.
One parent admitted his child opened the rear emergency exit door when the driver would not, and the parent began helping students off the bus.
Calcasieu school officials told KPLC that they concluded the driver acted correctly in not opening the door, also noting that the back door should not have been opened. Parish school officials also said no one is allowed within 10 ft. of the bus.
Transportation Director Aaron McDonald said the children should have stayed on the bus, pointing out that once they began unloading the bus, the students were on hot asphalt, unsupervised in the parking lot.
McDonald noted that each family was given a code of conduct explaining what’s expected of students and parents.
Parents also have other complaints. Besides worrying about whether it was too hot to stop the bus for any length of time, one woman said her small daughter was allowed to ride home with someone the mother didn’t know.