DENVER – Video shows an altercation on the back of a Denver Public Schools bus between a parent and the school bus driver.
The incident occurred Wednesday in North Park Hill.
The parent, Brandi Martin, was arrested for investigation of third-degree assault of an at-risk adult because the driver was more than 70 years old. But other parents who were there believe the video shows she was just defending herself.
The Denver Police Department released the probable cause statement for Martin’s arrest. It says the driver told police he pulled over the bus in the 2900 block of North Kearney Street because the kids were being “unruly.”
Parents say they were contacted by their kids and showed up on Kearney Street to pick them up.
The tense situation was caught on video, as parents gathered around the back of the bus. Parents say the driver would not let the children off of the bus. Qaedah Perron, a parent who witnessed the incident and called 911, says Martin got onto the bus to try to get her daughter off, which is when the altercation began.
The caught-on-camera incident was shared widely on social media.
Perron said she watched the bus driver begin the physical confrontation and believes Martin was defending herself.
But the probable cause statement from police says Martin “… repeatedly struck the victim in the face with a closed fist. Officers were able to confirm this information from a witness to the incident, who had recorded the altercation. The victim is over the age of 70 years and is considered at-risk. The victim sustained visible injuries to his face and was transported to Denver Health for his injuries.”
DPS says it was alerted about the incident late Wednesday. It launched an investigation early Thursday.
A paraprofessional who was aboard the bus was also involved in the incident, but it is unclear to what degree. DPS said one of the two employees suffered a broken nose and was taken to a hospital.
On Monday, both the driver and the paraprofessional were put on administrative leave.
Mark Ferrandino, the deputy superintendent of operations at DPS, says the school district is going to review its de-escalation training for employees.
“We don’t want situations to get to this level. Staff needs to understand how do you make sure you get control, get things de-escalated, so it doesn’t raise to what we saw on the Facebook video. That is not an expectation we have in DPS. We want to make sure that our students are cared for and feel safe,” Ferrandino said.
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Ferrandino added that bus drivers are allowed to pull over if they believe the students have become so unruly that it may create a dangerous situation. Additionally, he said the driver of the bus on Wednesday did radio for help from DPS’ security team.