School bus driver faces child abuse charges for slamming on brakes to 'teach kids a lesson'

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By Phoebe Egoroff

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A school bus driver in Colorado is facing child abuse charges for slamming on the brakes to teach unruly kids a lesson.

Footage taken from inside the bus - which was subsequently obtained by KRDO radio station in Colorado Springs - showed the moment that the children from Castle Rock Elementary School were thrown into the backs of the seats in front of them after driver Brian Fitzgerald slammed on the brakes on the school bus.

On March 1, the 61-year-old substitute driver was dropping off the kids - who ranged between kindergarten to sixth-grade ages - after school when he was heard saying: "You guys need to be in your seats," before adding: "You guys want to see how dangerous that is?"

He then slams on the brakes at a slow 9 mph, causing the children to be pushed into the seats in front of them. Some of them are heard screaming: "Ow! Oh, my God!"

Fitzgerald then says: "Did you get that? That's why you need to be in your seat, turn around and sit down properly." A child then asks: "Why would he do that?" Another kid then gets on her phone to ring her parent to complain about Fitzgerald, telling them that one of her schoolmates was bleeding from the cheek.

According to the report, that young girl began crying when she got off the bus, with her father advising Fitzgerald to "go easy on the brakes." Fitzgerald defends himself in the footage, stating that the children were "running all over the place," though, the children on the other hand deny this. "I was coming to a stop and I hit the brakes hard because they were not listening," Fitzgerald tells the parent.

A local mother told KRDO that her son came home to her crying. "He just said, 'The bus driver … he hit the brakes and I hit my head and my buddy, he's bleeding,'" the mother said, who additionally stated that her son had recently suffered a concussion after falling on ice, which made her especially worried.

The Douglas County School District suspended Fitzgerald from driving while conducting an internal investigation, following a number of complaints from parents. Fitzgerald had only recently been hired by the school district, with the incident occurring on his first day of driving after finishing general training.

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The children were thrown forward when the driver hit the brakes hard. Credit: Allen Creative / Steve Allen / Alamy

He wrote a letter defending his actions, stating that the "unruly" children would not listen to him when he repeatedly asked them to sit down. He added that the bus route had "a historical pattern of improper student management."

Fitzgerald then concluded with: "I am still 100% responsible for my actions in trying to both educate and control students on the bus. Being new driver, I did not make the best decisions and if I were able to redo what I did I would rethink my decisions."

The driver is now jobless and facing 30 misdemeanor charges of child abuse - this includes one count of child abuse with bodily injuries, which carries a sentence of close to a year in jail. Fitzgerald is set to appear in court in May.

Featured image credit: Radharc Images / Alamy

School bus driver faces child abuse charges for slamming on brakes to 'teach kids a lesson'

vt-author-image

By Phoebe Egoroff

Article saved!Article saved!

A school bus driver in Colorado is facing child abuse charges for slamming on the brakes to teach unruly kids a lesson.

Footage taken from inside the bus - which was subsequently obtained by KRDO radio station in Colorado Springs - showed the moment that the children from Castle Rock Elementary School were thrown into the backs of the seats in front of them after driver Brian Fitzgerald slammed on the brakes on the school bus.

On March 1, the 61-year-old substitute driver was dropping off the kids - who ranged between kindergarten to sixth-grade ages - after school when he was heard saying: "You guys need to be in your seats," before adding: "You guys want to see how dangerous that is?"

He then slams on the brakes at a slow 9 mph, causing the children to be pushed into the seats in front of them. Some of them are heard screaming: "Ow! Oh, my God!"

Fitzgerald then says: "Did you get that? That's why you need to be in your seat, turn around and sit down properly." A child then asks: "Why would he do that?" Another kid then gets on her phone to ring her parent to complain about Fitzgerald, telling them that one of her schoolmates was bleeding from the cheek.

According to the report, that young girl began crying when she got off the bus, with her father advising Fitzgerald to "go easy on the brakes." Fitzgerald defends himself in the footage, stating that the children were "running all over the place," though, the children on the other hand deny this. "I was coming to a stop and I hit the brakes hard because they were not listening," Fitzgerald tells the parent.

A local mother told KRDO that her son came home to her crying. "He just said, 'The bus driver … he hit the brakes and I hit my head and my buddy, he's bleeding,'" the mother said, who additionally stated that her son had recently suffered a concussion after falling on ice, which made her especially worried.

The Douglas County School District suspended Fitzgerald from driving while conducting an internal investigation, following a number of complaints from parents. Fitzgerald had only recently been hired by the school district, with the incident occurring on his first day of driving after finishing general training.

wp-image-1263207768 size-full
The children were thrown forward when the driver hit the brakes hard. Credit: Allen Creative / Steve Allen / Alamy

He wrote a letter defending his actions, stating that the "unruly" children would not listen to him when he repeatedly asked them to sit down. He added that the bus route had "a historical pattern of improper student management."

Fitzgerald then concluded with: "I am still 100% responsible for my actions in trying to both educate and control students on the bus. Being new driver, I did not make the best decisions and if I were able to redo what I did I would rethink my decisions."

The driver is now jobless and facing 30 misdemeanor charges of child abuse - this includes one count of child abuse with bodily injuries, which carries a sentence of close to a year in jail. Fitzgerald is set to appear in court in May.

Featured image credit: Radharc Images / Alamy