A student was kicked off a school bus in Canada last week, forced to walk the final 10 blocks to his stop, and, as a result, the school district called for the bus driver to be fired. But a new video showing a different angle of the on-bus incident has the school board saying it was wrong to call for the driver's termination.
According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, initial video showed a seventh grade student giving the driver the middle finger. At the time of the May 25 incident coming to light, the driver said this student threatened to hit him with his backpack. This threat came shortly after another student in the eighth grade had already hit the driver with a hockey bag. It was the seventh grade student who was kicked off the bus.
The new 7-minute-long video shows why this student was left on the side of the road, earning the driver an apology. It shows the seventh grade student getting out of his seat behind the bus driver and hitting and kicking another younger student. This younger student then walked to the back of the bus when the driver stopped to let other students off.
With no audio, it's unknown what was said. But the driver, at this point, got out of his seat and also walked to the back of the bus. The student who hit the younger child at this time proceeded to play on the seats while the driver wasn't looking.
After a minute, the driver and the younger child returned to their respective seats at the front.
The seventh grade boy moved over to the younger child's seat and the pair appeared to squabble for a moment until the driver ordered the seventh grader back to his own seat. After the younger boy got in a sneaky hit in retaliation, the older boy appeared to speak animatedly and gave him the middle finger.
Eventually, the driver stopped again to let more children off, that's when a third student — the one in the eighth grade — slammed him with a hockey bag before he exited the bus.
After that, the driver wiped his face, put his glasses back into position and drove on. For several minutes while continuing to drive, the driver seemed to talk to the boy behind him, who continued to give the middle finger. It was during this time that the boy apparently threatened to hit the driver.
The driver, who seemed to have had enough, then pulled over and tossed the boy's bag out the door, giving the student a little push to exit as well. This last bit is what was captured on a cellphone by another student at the back of the bus and began making waves when it was released this week.
Watch this short clip of the new footage, but note that the Edmonton Journal has an even longer edition:
"The driver felt at the time that this was the safest location for the student in question, but also to ensure the safety of the students on board," Laura Doroshenko with Cunningham Transport, the company operating the school bus for Edmonton Catholic Schools, said in a written statement, according to CBC. "Physical violence had already been threatened against him and he was worried about the other students."
The school district initially called for the driver to be fired, but on Tuesday wrote on Facebook that "in light of the second video showing an assault on the driver, we realize we should not have requested the driver’s termination and have apologized to his employer, Cunningham Transportation Services, and will be apologizing to the driver as soon as we can reach him."
"The District does not in any way condone the behavior of the two students involved in the separate incidents on the bus and the principals for both students were made aware of the situation so that they could take measures, which they have," the district's statement continued.