Colorado School Bus Driver Now Faces 30 Child Abuse Charges After Allegedly Slamming On Brakes While Driving (Video)
A Colorado school bus driver is now facing 30 child abuse charges after a video surfaced of him braking hard while driving students. According to ABC News, the driver was attempting to “teach students on the bus a lesson.”
More Details Regarding The Alleged Incident
According to the outlet, Brian Fitzgerald, 61, was driving a bus for the Douglas County School District when the incident took place on March 1.
In video footage of the incident, which has since been released, Fitzgerald is heard asking the students on his bus if they would like to see how dangerous it is for them to stand while the bus is in motion.
“You guys want to see how dangerous that is?”
The children are then seen being thrust into the seats before them. Additionally, they can be heard screaming, “Ow!”
The driver then continued.
“Did you get that? That’s why you need to be in your seat. Turn around and sit down properly.”
The students on the bus ranged from kindergarteners to 6th graders, as reported by KRDO.
According to ABC News, the students can then be heard questioning the bus driver’s actions. One student even pulled out a cell phone and called to report the incident.
“The bus driver hit the brakes, and somebody got hurt so badly and is, like, bleeding on the cheek. We tell the bus driver, but he no care.”
“Why did he do that?!” Colorado school bus driver Brian Fitzgerald decides to slam on the brakes to “teach kids a lesson”. He’s now facing 30 charges of child abuse. (Video: KRDO) pic.twitter.com/gUYS74EQTC
— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) April 21, 2023
The Bus Driver's Reponse & Subsequent Consequences For His Actions
According to ABC News, later in the footage, Fitzgerald is heard explaining his actions to a parent.
He reportedly explained that he was “trying to get them to get in their seats.”
“I was coming to a stop and I hit the brakes hard because they weren’t, they were not listening. So, I’m sorry if she got hurt.”
In a letter dated March 1 to the school district, Fitzgerald reportedly apologized for his actions. Furthermore, he referred to them as “a repetitive historical pattern of improper student management.”
“I am sincerely sorry for my choice of actions today in my efforts of training students. I am still 100% responsible for my actions in trying to both educate and control students on the bus. Being a new driver, I did not make the best decision and if I were able to redo what I did I would rethink my decisions.”
Additionally, the outlet reports that Fitzgerald was hired as a bus driver for the school district in October 2022. He had reportedly completed training a few days before the March 1 incident.
Paula Hans, a Douglas County School District spokesperson, confirmed with the outlet that Fitzgerald has since been fired.
“The video is incredibly difficult to watch. 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.”
More Details Regarding This Bus Driver's Charges
On April 12, a misdemeanor complaint was filed against Fitzgerald.
According to ABC News, it includes 29 charges of “child abuse with no injury.” As well as one count of “child abuse with bodily injuries.” This charge reportedly carries a “maximum sentence of 364 days in jail,” as per KRDO.
Furthermore, Fitzgerald is scheduled to make his first court appearance on May 12.