A Colorado school bus driver is now facing 30 counts of child abuse after he intentionally braked hard in an attempt to teach students on the bus a lesson, Good Morning America reports.
On April 12th, a misdemeanor complaint was filed against Brian Fitzgerald that includes 29 charges of child abuse with no injury and one count of child abuse with bodily injuries. The 61-year-old had just started as a driving for the Douglas County School District when the incident occurred.
In video footage caught on the busses camera, Fitzgerald is heard telling students from Castle Rock Elementary School to be in their seats before saying, “You guys want to see how dangerous that is?” After the man abruptly hit the brakes, the children are then seen being thrown against the seats in front of them.
“Did you get that?” Fitzgerald then says. “That’s why you need to be in your seat. Turn around and sit down properly.”
Later, the bus camera shows an interaction between the bus driver and one of the children’s parents, who confronted the man when they noticed their child’s face was red. Fitzgerald is heard explaining that he’s a new substitute bus driver, and that he was trying to get the students to say in their seats.
“I was coming to a stop and I hit the brakes hard because they weren’t, they were not listening,” he says. “So, I’m sorry if she got hurt.”
A spokesperson from the Douglas County School District says that Fitzgerald is no longer employed by the district.
“The video is incredibly difficult to watch,” they said in a statement. “Riding a bus to and from school should be a happy, enjoyable experience for students. The behavior and actions of this bus driver are completely unacceptable.”