Liberty school bus driver charged, accused of assaulting student

LIBERTY, Mo. — A Liberty bus driver was charged with allegedly choking a student riding the bus.

Scott Livingston is being charged with misdemeanor fourth-degree assault in Clay County.

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The Liberty School District has since confirmed to FOX4 that the driver was fired after the incident.

According to court documents, last Thursday, officers were dispatched to south Leonard and Groom streets in Liberty.

Court documents say officers located and stopped the school bus. When the bus doors opened, students ran off the bus, crying and screaming, officials said.

But court documents say the incident actually started near Heritage Middle School.

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Student video shows Livingston approaching the victim and grabbing his shirt around the collar. Livingston then placed his hand around the victim’s neck, prosecutors say. The victim stood up and began to defend himself.

According to court documents, the victim said the bus driver yelled to the back of the bus and said, “Sit down or I’m going to beat your a**.” He replied and said, “You can’t touch me.” Livingston went to the back of the bus and allegedly grabbed his jacket.

The victim then said, “Get your f****** hands off me.” He said the driver put his hands around his neck and squeezed, court records say.

The victim stood up and pushed the driver into the seat across from them. The student said the driver then flipped him over and began hitting him, according to court documents.

Another student was able to stop Livingston until a district security officer arrived. The district security officer removed the victim from the bus.

The officer allegedly told Livingston not to drive away, but he did, prosecutors say — with a bus full of students. The students then called 911 until the bus came to a stop about 5 minutes away.

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Livingston told detectives he’s usually drove longer routes on coach buses but has been filling in on after school routes. Livingston said he became “irritated” and approached the victim.

He told detectives the victim “mouthed off or said something” before he allegedly grabbed the student around the top of his t-shirt. Livingston said he was then thrown to the ground. Livingston told investigators he was “trying to scare him, not hurt him.”

Livingston posted a $500 bond on Friday. He entered a not guilty plea at his arraignment on Monday afternoon.

Liberty School District released the following statement to the families of Bus 494:

Bus 494 Families,

I wanted to provide you with a few updates as we have continued to work through yesterday’s incident involving riders of bus 494. 

  • Please know that the safety of our students while at school, or in this case on the school bus, is our top priority, and we are sorry that this incident took place, for not only the student involved, but also the other students that were present on the bus and witnessed the incident. Our team has provided regular check-ins with the students who were present on the bus yesterday afternoon to ensure they are doing ok here at school today. 

  • An additional detail that we wanted to share regarding the incident yesterday was the timeline of events, and when the arrest of the substitute bus driver occurred. Following the act by the bus driver, which occurred on our HMS campus (and just prior to the regularly scheduled departure time), the student involved was helped off the bus by LPS security. In the midst of sorting out the situation and waiting for the Liberty Police Department to arrive, the bus driver was told to remain in place on the bus, but instead he elected to begin the route and left campus. Within minutes, and approximately one mile from our school, the bus driver was stopped and arrested by LPD. Another LPS transportation driver arrived to assist with transporting the student riders home while LPD investigated the incident. 

  • LPS has been notified by LPD that the driver has been charged with misdemeanor 4th degree assault. Additionally, the driver has been terminated from the District.

As I shared yesterday, a big thanks to both the Liberty Police Department and our LPS safety and security team for their prompt response to this incident. As always, don’t hesitate reaching out with any questions you may have.

Dr. Reagan Allegri

Principal – Heritage Middle School

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