A Florida school bus driver says he was beaten up by three parents who became enraged when he wouldn't let their children get off his bus without lining up in single file first, but one of the accused parents says the driver "deserved everything he got that day."
The bus driver, Joseph Beauzile, told The Palm Beach Post
that since he started driving a bus for the local district in 2008, his rule was that children had to stand in single file while they got off at their stops.
But on April 14, when he kept the school bus door closed because the elementary school children weren't standing in line, three parents allegedly became enraged, forced their way onto the bus and attacked Beauzile.
"She jumped on me, trying to get control of the steering wheel," Beauzile said Monday. "I can't let her get control of the bus."
He said he fought with the parents for 15 minutes while trying to protect himself and the children on the school bus.
"It was very hard for me," said Beauzile, of West Palm Beach. "I got beaten by the parents."
Beauzile said the three parents were able to push the school bus door open, and one of the men held him down while the other punched him in the face, ribs, stomach, and shoulder.
Two of the three parents, Shacaurra Burns, 24, and Ryan Beckford, 30, were arrested on Saturday and charged with trespass, battery, and child abuse. The other parent has not yet been arrested.
Burns told Palm Beach television station wptv.com
that she did not hit Beauzile but still said he deserved "everything he got that day."
"I did lose my temper. I believe the tape on the bus is going to be horrendous on my part because I was using foul language. But I did not put my hands on him," Burns said. "The bus driver was basically letting the kids off the bus one at a time because they were not sitting in their assigned seats. It was crazy because everyone wanted to go home."
One of the students jumped from an emergency window, The Palm Beach Post reports, and a police officer wrote in a report that children on the bus were screaming and crying "with terrified looks on their faces."
One boy told a school official that he was scared because one of the men threw the bus keys out a window.
"The school district needs to decide to keep not only the kids safe but the bus driver and the school district property," Beauzile said Monday. "Strangers just can't get on the bus."
He said he's nervous about going back to work, but "if I was a soldier I'd go, if I got hurt or shot, until they got me. I still have to fight. I can't give up."
Police have a video of the alleged attack, but it has not yet been released publicly.
Some of the district's bus drivers marched in protest of the attack on Monday, saying the district needs to enhance its bus safety measures, including putting radios on buses so drivers can call 9-1-1 directly in case of emergency. Mike Burke, the school district's chief operating officer, said the district takes the safety of its drivers seriously.
District school bus driver Jane Brown said parents often become unruly at bus stops.
"In order to get to the child, you need to come through me," Brown said. "We are the judge, the jury, the doctor. We are everything to these children when they leave home."
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