A school bus driver in Louisiana has been filmed allegedly choking and slapping a student.
The footage, recorded by another passenger on the bus, shows the alleged assault by Mike Jenkins, 77. Mr Jenkins now faces simple battery charges following the altercation on 30 October, according to the Atlanta Black Star.
At the time, he was working as a driver for the First Student school bus company. The short video shows Mr Jenkins pushing the student at Marrero Middle School after he tries to get up from his seat.
The boy fights back, pushing the driver, who was spotted slapping the child. He was also seen smashing the child into the window of the bus and he appeared to be choking him.
“Get off of him,” one person yells from off-camera.
The child’s father reported the incident to the authorities, prompting Mr Jenkins’s arrest the following day – Tuesday 31 October – by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office. His bond was set at $500, but he was released without paying it as the jail was overcrowded.
Mr Jenkins has since resigned and is now set to defend himself against charges of child abuse, the Black Star notes.
First Student is a private bus company licensed by the district to ferry students to school. The firm has said that Mr Jenkins was trained, and had completed a federal and national risk management security screening.
“At First Student, we invest heavily in the comprehensive training and ongoing development of our drivers,” a spokesperson for the company told Fox 8.
“They receive an average of 40 hours of training before operating a bus, which is more than double the federal requirement,” the official added. “Drivers also go through regular enhancement training during their tenure with the company. We monitor driver performance daily and conduct annual evaluations.”
School district representative Kaela Lewis said that the school board employs a “transportation vendor,” adding that “all bus drivers who transport our Jefferson Parish Schools students undergo state and federal background checks”.
She also noted that drivers also have to take part in training on how to work with children.
The district is located 10 miles from New Orleans.
“Once reported, district and school disciplinary policies are followed, and if necessary, appropriate disciplinary actions are taken,” she said, according to the Black Star.