Great Falls Public Schools and Big Sky Bus Lines have released a joint statement about a fight that broke out on a school bus on Monday.
Big Sky Bus Lines operates the school buses for the GFPS district.
A video posted to Facebook on Tuesday shows an adult school bus aide and several students shouting profanities and pushing each other on the school bus.
According to the press release, the incident began when students on Bus #45 were seen hanging their legs, arms, hands, and heads out of the windows of the bus. Despite being told to stop doing it, the students continued. At that point, a bus aide from another bus who saw the students doing it got onto Bus #45 in attempt to defuse the situation. The press release says that "…inflammatory verbal exchanges occurred. The situation escalated quickly. One student shoved the aide and the aide physically retaliated."
The school bus aide is no longer employed by Big Sky Bus Lines; his name has not been released.
We do not know if any of the students are facing disciplinary actions, as the GFPS has cited privacy considerations.
We do not know whether the aide – or anyone else involved – may be facing charges.
Here is the full text of the joint statement:
On April 9, 2018 a school bus incident occurred at CMR High School. The incident happened on Bus #45. This bus had picked up students at North Middle School at the end of their school day and was waiting for students to board from CMR after their dismissal. Bus #45 was parked along with other buses in the CMR bus waiting area.
A thorough investigation was conducted by the Great Falls Police Department, Great Falls Public Schools, and Big Sky Bus Lines. Visual and verbal evidence was reviewed from video captured by school bus cameras, from CMR building surveillance cameras, and from social media. This is the timeline of events as substantiated by the evidence noted above:
At 3:17 PM students were observed hanging their legs, arms, hands, and heads out the passenger side windows of Bus #45. A driver from another bus was outside of Bus #45 and told the students to put their extremities back in the bus numerous times before she started to shut the windows from outside the bus due to non-compliance of the students.
At 3:22 a bus aide from a third bus observed the same behaviors and non-compliance, and entered the bus to try to assist with student behavior. As the aide entered the bus, inflammatory verbal exchanges occurred. The situation escalated quickly. One student shoved the aide and the aide physically retaliated.
At 3:25, CMR teachers and administrators entered the bus and opened the back door of the bus and control of the situation was gained.
Big Sky Bus Lines expects their staff members to diffuse conflict, but this did not occur. As a result, the bus aide is no longer employed by Big Sky Bus Lines. In protecting the privacy of minors, we will not comment on if or whether any action has been taken with the students.
GFPS and Big Sky Bus Lines will continue to work together to promote bus safety by enforcing all bus rules consistently.