The Georgia school bus driver seen shoving two Black school children captured on a fellow student’s cellphone footage has been arrested and fired.
According to FOX5, the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office arrested the driver, James O’Neil, on Friday. O’Neil, who is white, was charged with two counts of battery.
Nequania Carter, mother of the two children, ages six and 10, told FOX5 that the confrontation started on Sept. 9. She alleges that O’Neil demanded the 6-year-old sit at the back of the bus. The boy didn’t comply, which caused O’Neil getting physical.
“My son is terrified, he was scared, he called for his older sister as you could hear he was crying…he was horrified…you’re supposed to be protecting him,” she said.
The short clip that has gone viral shows an elderly white man, O’Neil, pushing the 6-year-old boy around in a seat. His elder sister, 10, jumps to his defense shouting “You’re pushing my brother.”
The driver tells the sister to “shut her mouth” as he continues to manhandle the boy. The sister repeats herself assertively telling the driver to stop touching her brother. The driver points towards the back of the bus and tells her to “get back there.” When the sister doesn’t move, the drive follows up with a much stronger shove to her, forcing her to stumble back a few steps.
“What a pain in the neck you guys are. Get out of here. Get back there,” the driver says before the video cuts.
Carter told the local news outlet that this wasn’t the first complaint against the driver. She believes that her children were targeted for a reason.
“I’ve never put my hands on a child, and I used to drive school buses too,” Carter told Fox5.
In a request for comment, the Morgan County Charter School System told FOX5 they were working with authorities and that they had fired O’Neil.
“The Morgan County Charter School System was made aware of an incident Friday afternoon involving a bus driver and students. We took immediate action, including notifying the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, who we are working with during the investigation. We cannot share further details or comment due to this being a personnel issue; however, the driver was terminated.”
James O’Neil, who has been a driver for the Morgan County Charter School System since 2020, was arrested on Friday. He spent a day in the Morgan County Detention Center before bonding out to await trial. He will now await a court date to adjudicate the charges and make a plea.
Carter has since permanently pulled their kids from the school system because of the incident.
“The emotional damage that it did…my kids don’t want to go back to school…they don’t want to get back on the school bus,” Carter said.