Six Richmond middle school students are now under house arrest after an attack on a school bus driver.
They made their first appearance in a Richmond courthouse on Thursday.
Now, some of their parents want to tell their side of the story.
The parents say while there were students distracting this driver, they say the driver actually started choking one of the students and that's why they jumped in.
"It was terrifying for me," says Robyn Allen after seeing her 12-year-old son, Levar Allen Jr., in a jail jumpsuit. Her family says Levar was trying to protect his friend.
Allen Jr. is one of six Albert Hill Middle School students arrested for beating a school bus driver.
"He's not a criminal," she said.
The family says their son is an honor roll student who's devoted to playing sports. He's been MVP for a number of teams.
"When he gets out of school he's either playing for his school or playing for his other team," she says.
"I just want my baby home," say Shanica Washington. Her 11-year-old daughter is also one of the accused students. She says the bus driver had a reputation for being verbally abusive.
"He was calling her all types of name ," she said. She said some of the comments include, "[If] she don't shut up her parents are going to be mad because they're going to have to find money to bury her."
The parents say their children are telling the same story. They say the incident escalated after someone started throwing crayons at the driver. They tell us the driver pulled over and confronted a student.
"The boy slapped his hat off his head," says Washington. "At that time when he slapped his hat off his head the man started choking him."
The Allen family says their son was hurt in the attack and they believe the driver punched him.
"His friend was getting choked by an adult that had no right putting his hands on a child in the first place. What would he do but try to stop him?" says Levar's father, Levar Allen Sr.
The parents we spoke to agree: it's not right for the students to disrespect the driver. But they say help should have been called sooner.
"It's not right for him to put it in his own hands to handle these children, in no shape, form or fashion," says Levar Allen Sr.
Richmond Public School officials are not releasing details about the attack only to confirm that it happened and are dedicated to making sure everyone is safe.
There are cameras on that bus. NBC12 has requested to see that video, but school officials say it will not be released while this case is ongoing.
Richmond Police say they do not believe there will be any more arrests in this case.
A seventh suspended student has not been charged.
Here is the latest statement from Richmond Public Schools:
Richmond Public Schools is continuing its investigation into this serious matter and is reviewing all information presented. We remain committed to the safety and well-being of our students and staff, and are currently looking to implement additional safeguards to minimize such an offense from happening again. Such measures include additional conflict resolution and behavioral management sessions to increase driver and student safety, realigning transportation personnel and enhancing communication between transportation and building administrators. Moreover, we encourage parents to have conversations with students about appropriate behavior while riding the school bus. The school bus is an extension of our learning facilities, and it is imperative both students and staff are safe for optimal student achievement. RPS is working collaboratively with the Richmond City Police department and others as the criminal investigation continues.
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