CLEVELAND – Cleveland Metropolitan School District has removed a bus driver from his route after video recorded of him shows the driver yelling curse words and homophobic and racial slurs at an 11-year-old student.
The video shows driver Flamando McElrath in the face of the Joseph M. Gallagher student and even flicking his chin with his finger. Flamando can be heard telling the boy, “I wish I was your daddy, I would beat your (expletive) every day until you learn respect!”
He repeatedly used multiple curse words, a homophobic slur and a racial slur. CMSD released a statement to FOX8 that says:
“The conduct displayed by the bus driver is unacceptable and disturbing. He has been removed from his duties, pending the outcome of hearings set forth in the Union contract. We have been in touch with the family of the students who brought this to our attention, and are providing counseling and other supports for those affected.”
The statement goes on to say:
“CMSD has zero tolerance for mistreatment of our students, and the reported conduct is not representative of the care and dedication routinely provided by our school bus drivers.”
McElrath says he is remorseful for his anger, but defends his intentions and says the student has been totally out of line for months.
“This kid for over two months was violating at least 17 of the 25 rules that we have on the bus he was notorious,” McElrath said.
McElrath says the boy was picking on other students and that he wrote him up for discipline for being out of his seat when the bus was moving and for asking inappropriate questions.
McElrath also says he wanted to meet the student’s parents.
“If they would have come to the bus and been proactive it might not have ever happened and we implore the parents you have got to get involved with your kids when it comes to the bus,” he said.
The parents of the student now have an attorney. They released a statement to FOX8 that says,
“When your children get on the bus every day you expect that they will be safe and treated with respect. We were horrified upon seeing this video. Under no circumstances should an eleven year old child be bullied in this way by an adult or anyone else."
“In this day and age of school place anti bullying campaigns, the school district must be held to account for why its own employee believed it was appropriate for him to assault intimidate and threaten this child with violence."
McElrath says the school administration did come out to the bus to talk to the student about his actions.