Enough rowdy students travel on school buses everyday that their antics don’t usually make it to YouTube or the national news. But fights become more media-worthy when the bus driver joins the fray. And this happened recently in a district near Phoenix.
Kim Sullivan, a bus driver in Higley Unified School District, became frustrated when fifteen-year-old Samantha Taylor, a student with a history of discipline problems on the school bus, was distracting her. Sullivan pulled the bus over, before reaching an authorized stop. Samantha decided she wanted to get off the bus, but Sullivan is not supposed to let kids off the bus unless she has arrived at an authorized stop. As the bus’s security tape shows, tensions escalated for nearly ten minutes. Finally, a physical brawl ensued between Samantha, Sullivan, and Sullivan’s daughter Erin.
The school district took Sullivan’s side after reviewing the tape. The Superintendent even said, “I wouldn’t put any blame whatsoever on the bus driver.” School officials and law enforcement eventually cleared Sullivan of all charges and ordered her daughter Erin to attend anger management classes.
Samantha, on the other hand, is not in the authorities’ good graces: she has been expelled from school and charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct, which could carry a sentence of six months in juvenile detention.
Beyond its YouTube appeal, the incident is leading school districts nationwide to get creative with bus security. One district is even trying out a system that will feed security camera footage live to the local police department and to the school district. That way, someone can more quickly come to the aid of bus drivers when tensions mount.
BoardBuzz remembers its days on the school bus and knows that bus drivers must do what they can to maintain order and safety. What do you think of this interesting case? How is YouTube (and other social media) changing the way school districts do business? Does your school district face similar challenges? Leave a comment and tell us about it.