Police, district investigate restraint private bus attendant used on student


Staff report

BOARDMAN

Township police are investigating an incident in which an employee with a private bus company applied a restraining hold to a Youngstown elementary student.

The principal of Paul C. Bunn Elementary School told police the school received a call about a disruptive student on a bus Monday afternoon.

When the bus arrived, the principal observed a bus attendant applying what he described as a “choke hold” on the student, according to a report. He told police the student appeared to have briefly lost consciousness.

Terry Thomas, CEO of Community Bus Services Inc., said the student was slapping the bus driver, and the attendant applied the proper restraining hold to get the student away from the driver in accordance with her training.

He said the video corroborates his contention the restraint was not a “choke hold.” He told 21 WFMJ-TV, The Vindicator’s broadcast partner, however, the activities were inappropriate, and the driver and attendant have been put on paid administrative leave.

The student told police the attendant also attempted to shove him into his seat, and he admitted having physical contact with the driver, the report said.

District spokeswoman Denise Dick said the Community Bus employees will not be on district buses for the remainder of the district’s investigation, which will likely extend through the end of the school year.

The district contracts with CBS to provide transportation for students with disabilities. The relationship extends back several years.

Thomas said parents should not worry if they have a student who travels to school on one of the company’s buses.

“They can rest assured that our drivers go through behavior-intervention training every year,” he said.

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