Student kicked off bus 'threatened' driver, bus company says
Catholic board spokeswoman Lori Nagy says the driver should be fired
An Edmonton school bus driver who ejected a Grade 7 student from his bus for alleged bad behaviour was threatened by the child in question, his employer says.
The driver's actions were caught on video by a dashboard camera.
The video shows the student, who is in the seat directly behind the driver, talking, gesturing with his middle finger and pointing repeatedly towards the driver. There is no audio.
While the driver steers around corners, he can be seen using his radio. The student keeps talking, and at times the driver and the boy appear to be arguing.
Laura Doroshenko, operations manager for Cunningham Transport, said the incident happened not long after another student hit the driver in the head with a duffel bag. In that video, the driver was hit with a duffel bag swung by a student who appeared to be angry that he had not been let off the bus.
When the bag hit his face, the driver's glasses slid down his nose. The driver can be seen taking a deep breath, removing his glasses and rubbing his face.
After that incident, Doroshenko said, the second student, the one in Grade 7, threatened to throw his backpack at the driver. That's why he was kicked off the bus ten blocks from home, she said.
"The driver felt at the time that this was the safest location for the student in question, but also to ensure the safety of the students on board," she said in a written statement.
"Physical violence had already been threatened against him and he was worried about the other students."
In the video, the driver can be seen pulling over and parking the bus. He then grabs the student's backpack and tosses it off the bus. The driver then motions for the student to get off the bus.
Cunningham Transport said the driver installed his own video camera after he had trouble with the same group of students.
While the company doesn't condone the driver's actions, Doroshenko said it's important for the public to understand what led up to the incident.
But the driver isn't getting much sympathy from Edmonton Catholic Schools.
Board spokeswoman Lori Nagy said the driver should be fired.
"This should never happen," she said. " In the end, the driver is the adult. The safety of our students is always our first priority."
The driver has been removed from all routes involving Edmonton Catholic Schools.