After being filmed abruptly braking and causing children to be thrown around, a Colorado school bus driver is now confronting 30 counts of child abuse charges.
The driver, Brian Fitzgerald, 61, was employed by the Douglas County School District and was transporting around 30 pupils back from Castle Rock Elementary on March 1 when the event took place. The video below shows the occurrence in question.
The video captures Fitzgerald warning the children to remain seated and asking them, "You guys want to see how dangerous that is?"
Moments later, he appears to abruptly apply the brakes while traveling at approximately nine miles per hour, causing the students to fall over.
Fitzgerald then says, "Did you get that? That's why you need to be in your seat. Turn around and sit down properly."
Subsequently, the children can be heard expressing confusion as to why Fitzgerald would act in such a way, while some others ensure their friends are okay.
One child takes out their phone and dials a number, relaying to the individual on the other end of the line, "The bus driver hit the brakes, and somebody got hurt so badly and is, like, bleeding on the cheek."
Additional video footage displays Fitzgerald justifying his actions to a parent, claiming he is a substitute driver and was attempting to compel the children to take their seats.
"I was coming to a stop and I hit the brakes hard because they weren't, they were not listening. So, I'm sorry if she got hurt," he explained.
Fitzgerald has been charged with 29 counts of child abuse without injury and one count of child abuse resulting in bodily harm, classified as a misdemeanor. He is set to appear in court on May 12.
Following the occurrence, Fitzgerald composed an apology letter to the school board, which has been reviewed by ABC News.
"I am sincerely sorry for my choice of actions today in my efforts of training students," he expressed in the letter.
"I am still 100 percent responsible for my actions in trying to both educate and control students on the bus. Being a new driver, I did not make the best decision and if I were able to redo what I did I would rethink my decisions."
Subsequently, he was terminated from his position.
In a statement, Douglas County School District (DCSD) spokesperson Paula Hans confirmed this information.
"The video is incredibly difficult to watch. 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."