School bus driver to face criminal charge after alleged assault of student in Ashby caught on camera

A driver accused of assaulting a student on a school bus in Ashby on Tuesday afternoon will be called to court to face a criminal charge, authorities announced Wednesday.

The Ashby Police Department will seek an arrest warrant for the driver, a 64-year-old Ashby man, on a charge of assault and battery, according to Ashby Police Chief Derek J. Pepple.

Police say, after dismissal, in an incident that was captured on the school buses surveillance system, the school bus driver pulled the bus to the side of the road then moved to the back of the bus, and tussled with the student, shoving him to the floor.

The victim is a 14-year-old middle student at the Hawthorne Brook Middle School in Townsend, officials confirm.

Brad Morgan, Superintendent for the Northern Middlesex Regional School District found the video disturbing.

“Quite honestly, I was horrified by it,” Morgan said.

Boston 25 News obtained cell phone video taken inside the bus that shows a portion of the incident.

Morgan said the video showed the bus driver demanding the student come to the front of the bus. And when he refused, the incident began, in front of other students.

“He put his hands on the student and tried to bring the student upfront. It looked as if the student lost his balance in the aisle, he went down. The bus driver maintained contact on the student’s shoulders. It continued to a point where the student then got up and fell backward into the aisle and the bus driver was on top of the student,” Morgan said.

In a statement, Pepple said, “Through its initial investigation, Ashby police determined that the driver shoved the student to the floor of the bus, which was returning students home from school...Based on the investigation and video from the school bus, Ashby police found probable cause to seek a summons for the driver.”

Morgan said, based on what he saw on the video, a charge is needed.

“An adult should not be putting their hands on a student,” Morgan said. “We are here not only to educate the students, but safety is paramount. And we teach our kids to keep their hands off one another the expectation should be the same for the adults.”

The bus in question is owned and operated by Dee Bus Service, a contractor for student transportation services in the North Middlesex Regional School District. According to Morgan, the bus driver involved in the alleged incident has been removed from their route and will no longer be responsible for transporting students from the district.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Dee Bus Service said, “We have no tolerance for this alleged behavior. We are fully cooperating with local authorities and the North Middlesex Regional School district as this matter is being investigated.”

The driver, whose name hasn’t been released, will appear in court at a later date.

An investigation is ongoing.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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