The bus driver shoved the black students multiple times, but has since been fired from his position and charged with battery.
Bus drivers are getting a bad rep as a new school year gets underway. Various accounts of indecent behavior have been making headlines. Now, a Georgia employee is under fire following video footage depicting him shoving black students, while telling them to get to the back of the bus.
The altercation was captured by a student and quickly shared all across social media. As the video begins, a young black child is heard crying, as the older black girl urges the elderly white school bus driver to stop touching her brother. “Shut your mouth,” he is heard saying to the girl as he appears to shove the boy down into a seat.
Not backing down, the girl continues to tell the bus driver not to push him. In response, he points to the back of the bus, urging her to get back there. As she refused to leave, he proceeds to shove her away, adding “what a pain in the neck you guys are.”
According to a report from Newsweek, the incident involved two black siblings, aged six and ten years old. According to the children’s mother, her youngest child grew upset as the bus driver asserted that he must sit in the back of the bus. Confused, the mother said this order made no sense, as school policy states that the youngest riders sit in the front.
Now, the parent fears that the bus driver’s actions and behaviors were racially motivated. Furthermore, she told The Morgan County Citizen that this wasn’t the first issue with the school employee. She is adamant that he has targeted her children in the past as well.
After learning of the footage circulating social media, the Morgan County Charter School superintendent, Virgil Cole, said that police were notified. On Monday, September 12th, the bus driver was fired from his position with the district. Days later, the former staffer was arrested and charged with two counts of battery.
Other than being claimed as discriminatory, the fact that the bus driver demanded the black children go to the back of the bus is disturbing some. It conjures feelings of hatred once felt by many throughout the nation during the days of segregation. It was less than 70 years ago that many southern areas, like here in Georgia, mandated that black people sit in the back of buses.
Across Twitter, most users applauded the 10-year-old sister for standing her ground and speaking out against the wrongdoing of the bus driver. But others appeared to show pity toward the school staffer. Some noted that transporting busloads of students is a hard job, alleging that his assault on the young child was justified.
Incidents like this are occurring in schools across the nation. Last week, a school bus driver in Utah threatened to shoot children over the vehicle’s intercom after they told her she made a wrong turn. It marked the second violent incident with a district driver in weeks.
Local authorities are still deciding whether or not to press criminal charges in a racial matter against the bus driver. Millions of American children ride the school bus to school each and every day. For this reason, safety and well-being are crucial concerns, as parents lay their trust in the hands of these bus drivers.