Changes In Policy Made After School Bus Fight Video

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The exclusive video of a wild ride home on a Collinsville, Illinois, school bus has drawn nationwide attention.

It’s also prompted changes.  Until Tuesday, school and bus company officials had only seen video from the bus’s on-board camera.

Now, Fox 2 has provided them the home video from one of the students on the bus.
After  seeing  and  hearing it, the superintendent said it was even worse than he thought after seeing the bus-cam video, which was a more distant, wider view, with poor audio quality.

He was appalled at the course, vulgar language, he heard when seeing the student`s video of the February 27th bus ride home from Dorris Intermediate School for 5th and 6th graders.

Collinsville Superintendent, Dr. Robert Green, said the ‘on-board’ video was upsetting enough, but the student`s video gave a clearer picture – and certainly a clearer sound.
It clearly showed one boy making a sexually vulgar remark while thrusting another boy`s head into his lap.  Students also used profanity and even racial slurs.

‘It appeared just to be horseplay to start with.  Then at some point, it escalated,’ Green said.

It escalated into two boys exchanging violent face slaps;  ultimately the bus driver stopping the bus and breaking up the incident nearly 4 minutes after the student started the video.
Green said the bus-cam video showed the ‘horseplay’ actually started several minutes earlier.

‘Kids were out of their seats when the bus was moving.  Kids were horse playing when the bus was moving.  I take strong issue with that.  I made clear the district`s position we will not accept that,’ Green said.  ‘I would certainly be having a strong conversation with one of my employees if we were faced with a situation like that.  I expressed my opinion on that matter to first student this morning.’

He met with the school principal and a local manager for First Student Bus Service,  the Ohio company that provides bus service for Collinsville Schools, Tuesday, after Fox 2`s initial report Monday night.

Company spokeswoman, Maureen Richmond, said an initial review of the of bus cam video showed the driver responded appropriately.  Richmond also said management wanted to see the student`s video;  albeit more than a week after the student`s mother reported the incident.

‘As soon as she safely was able to pull the bus over, she did so, and reprimanded the students.  I think certainly revisit with all of our drivers proper procedures and protocols… it would be of interest just to see it from a different point of view to see if moving forward if something else should be done differently,’ Richmond said.

‘If that bus would have gotten into an accident when those boys were up and bouncing around, who knows what would have happened,’ said Jackie Luttrell, the mother of the student who took the video.

‘That`s not safety.  We will not tolerate it,’ Green said.

‘I`m concerned about the retaliation from not only the kids on the bus but from the bus driver, with my son taking this video and me reporting it to the news,’ Luttrell said, noting her son had already been suspended from school, in part for an incident stemming from his video of the bus ride.

She said she was not out to see students punished.

‘That was never my intention because they would not have gotten into trouble had the bus driver done her job and stopped it at the horseplay, when it started…I want something done with all the bus drivers to get more training on what to do when this kind of incident happens,’ Luttrell said.

One immediate change:  Green said in this case, the bus company reviewed the video, then submitted a report to principal 3 days later. From now on, the principals will personally review incidents right away.

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