By John W. GOODWIN JR.
Police, school officials and supervisors at an independent-school busing company are investigating a complaint that a 17-year-old student threatened a bus driver and students with a gun.
According to police reports, the 17-year-old Ridge Road boy was riding a school bus home from University Project Learning Center on Ford Avenue just after 5 p.m. Monday when he began calling bus riders, the driver and an assistant foul names and using swear words.
Reports say the bus stopped at the boy’s home, but he refused to get off.
The driver and assistant told police the boy repeatedly refused to get off the bus, then wrestled with them over the door handle when they decided to return him to the school. Reports say the boy then grabbed the male assistant’s jacket, causing a scuffle.
Reports said the assistant pushed the boy from the bus, but the teen began kicking and punching at the doors and windows, breaking one of the windows before running toward his home. The driver pulled over to wait for a new bus to take the rest of the students home, as is company policy when a window is broken, but the boy was not finished, according to the report.
The driver said she looked in the rearview mirror and noticed the boy come back out of his house with something tucked in his jacket. The driver told officers that students on the bus screamed that the boy had a gun.
She told police officers moments later the boy pulled what appeared to be a long, black gun from inside the jacket.
The driver told officers as she began to drive away, the boy began chasing the bus with the weapon in hand.
The driver told police the boy’s actions stemmed from a disruptive incident Friday where she knocked on the boy’s door and complained to his mother about his behavior.
The boy’s mother reportedly complained to busing-company supervisors Monday that the driver and assistant started a fight with her son after the alleged incident with the gun.
John Terry Allen, ombudsman for Youngstown City Schools, said he is still looking into the matter, but did say the boy is a special-needs student at the UPLC school and is no longer at the school. He said the matter is being handled but did not say how.
“He has been dealt with, and I am sure if there is any further discipline that needs to be handed out, it will be done according to the student code of conduct,” Allen said.
Kimberly Powell, a supervisor answering the phone for Community Busing on Tuesday, said she could not comment on the incident because it is still under investigation. She also would not say whether the boy is permitted to ride the bus.
Charges have not been filed against the teenager.
Messages left at the juvenile division for Youngstown Police Department were not returned Tuesday afternoon.
The incident comes just weeks after the school district announced plans for a contract between parents and the district governing behavior on school buses.
The rules include obeying the driver, no fighting or verbal abuse, no eating or drinking on buses, no misbehaving at the bus stop and no yelling or shouting.