7 students suspended in attack on RPS bus driver - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

7 students suspended, 6 arrested in attack on RPS bus driver


Seven Albert Hill Middle School students have been suspended after a brutal attack on a bus driver, according to Richmond Public Schools. Six of those students were arrested by the Richmond Police Department Wednesday.

The six students were charged with aggravated assault and assault by mob - both are felonies.

Richmond City school leaders say they are taking action as this investigation continues.  But some employees say not enough was done to prevent this and one employee is speaking out.

NBC12 was at a meeting between school transportation leaders and employees and caught a heated exchange you won't see anywhere else.

"You ain't spoke on it!" yelled an employee.  "Have I finished?" said the administrator.

"And it's wrong!" the employee yelled back.  "Have I finished?!?" the administrator yelled back.

Tensions flare outside a meeting between Richmond City Public School transportation administrators and bus employees.  Employees say the director of transportation didn't address concerns they had on the bus driver attacked by several students.

One employee, who did not want to be identified, says there were other incidents like throwing objects at the driver.

"He kept calling it in over the radio, calling in, writing up, calling in, writing up and the same students continually kept riding the bus until the worst happened," he said.

He says there is a lack of support by some school principals when it comes to disciplining students.

"They put them right back on the bus the same day," says the employee.

Todd Phillips, the director of school transportation, says there will be improvements: including new training on behavior issues and moving around operators who can better handle certain routes.

"When you are on these buses we have to make sure our students are safe and our managers are safe," he said.  "My door is always open, I have an open door policy for our employees.

We asked the director about that heated exchange.  He had no comment.

However all parties do agree, the attackers put other students and people driving around them in danger.  The seven students have been suspended pending a meeting with a disciplinary review board. School leaders say there is one more student they are looking at.  They say other students on the bus and video showed who the accused attackers are.

Rikki Robertson's sister goes here and says her sister was told the driver made comments about the students' parents.  But she's glad the accused attackers are not coming back right now.

"That act was very wrong, attacking a man," she said.  "I don't care what they said about your parents."

Phillips says there is usually a monitor on that bus along with the driver, but he wasn't there that day which added to this incident escalating.

The suspensions are pending a disciplinary panel review in response to Tuesday's incident on bus #24. School officials and the Richmond City Police department are continuing to investigate the attack, which left the driver with serious face and head injuries.

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