A Georgia school bus driver has been arrested and charged after he was caught on video pushing two students during a confrontation, The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.
James O’Neil, a 20-year bus driver for the Morgan County Charter School System, was charged with two counts of simple battery over the incident which took place on Sept. 9. He was fired after the video was uploaded by a student and went viral.
“The investigation resulted in the arrest of James O’Neil on two counts of simple battery,” said Morgan County Chief Deputy Keith Howard. “While this was not a complex investigation, it was complicated by the allegation that the incident was perceived as being racially motivated.”
The parents of the two students, who are siblings ages six and 10, say the incident was racially motivated and that O’Neil has had problems with the children in the past. Nene and Blake Carter, who are Black, have pulled their children out of the school district after the incident.
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The controversy all began on Friday, Sept. 9, when Morgan County students from the primary school began boarding the bus for the ride home.
Nene Carter says O’Neil allegedly told her six-year-old son to sit in the back of the bus, despite the fact that primary school students usually sit in the front of the bus with their age group.
The video shows O’Neil standing over the crying child while pushing the him back into his seat near the front of the bus. The 10-year-old sister then shouts, “Stop pushing my brother."
“Shut your mouth,” the bus driver says to the girl as he continues pushing the little boy and then appears to put his hands on the girl, who tells him to “get your hands off” when the bus driver suddenly pushes her, causing her to stumble backwards. O’Neil then says to her, “What a pain in the neck you guys are. Get back there.”
Carter said she believed O’Neil was only terminated because the video went viral.
“We feel like he was terminated because the story got more coverage than the Morgan County Charter School System would have liked,” said Carter. “It was rumored that they were just going to send him to be retrained.”
Parent outraged by video of bus driver altercation www.youtube.com