Brian Fitzgerald, a substitute bus driver in Castle Rock, Colo., is facing 30 counts of child abuse after he allegedly slammed on his vehicle’s brakes on purpose, reportedly injuring multiple children. The incident took place on March 1, and Fitzgerald was fired by the Douglas County School District after the incident.
A surveillance video released to multiple media outlets captured the driver giving a warning to the elementary school students. “You guys need to be in your seats,” Fitzgerald, 61, can be heard saying in the clip. “You guys want to see how dangerous that is?” He then allegedly stomped on the brakes while the bus was traveling approximately 9 mph, sending the students flying into the seats in front of them and hitting their heads on the windows.
The video also caught an interaction between Fitzgerald and a parent, where he apologized for the brake check. “I was coming to a stop and I hit the brakes hard because they weren’t, they were not listening,” he told the parent. “So, I’m sorry if she got hurt.” Fitzgerald later told officials that he wanted to “teach the kids a lesson,” KRDO reported.
Shortly afterward, one child reportedly called her parents to report the incident. “The bus driver hit the brakes, and somebody got hurt so badly and is like bleeding on the cheek,” she said. “We tell the bus driver, but he no care.”
Fitzgerald later sent an apology note to the district after the incident, but he was terminated, per CBS News. Court records show a misdemeanor charge was filed on April 12 against Fitzgerald, which includes 29 charges of child abuse with no injury and one count of child abuse with bodily injuries. He is scheduled to appear in court on May 12.
The Douglas County School District released a statement condemning the driver’s actions, stating, “Riding a bus to and from school should be a happy, enjoyable experience for students. The behavior and actions of this bus driver are completely unacceptable. We are so grateful to the parents and the principal who reported this incident, allowing us to take swift action and ensure this driver was never again allowed behind the wheel of a DCSD bus.”