“The investigation resulted in the arrest of James O’Neil on two counts of simple battery,” said Morgan County Chief Deputy Keith Howard. “While this was not a complex investigation, it was complicated by the allegation that the incident was perceived as being racially motivated.”
The parents of the siblings, aged 6 and 10, claimed the incident was racially-motivated and had complained about the same bus driver harassing their children in the past. O’Neil is an older white male and the Carter children are Black. The children involved have been permanently pulled out of the school systems by their parents, Nene and Blake Carter.
According to Nene Carter, the mother of the children who were pushed, O’Neil allegedly told her six-year-old son to sit in the back of the bus, despite the fact that primary school students usually sit in the front of the bus away from the older high school students riding the bus in the back.
The 12-second video that went viral on social media shows the bus driver standing over the small child while pushing the boy back into his seat near the front of the bus. The 10-year-old sister is standing next to the bus driver trying to reach out for her brother. The girl shouts, “Stop pushing my brother,” as the bus driver is seen repeatedly pushing the crying boy back into the seat. The bus driver told the girl “Shut your mouth.”
The driver was charged with two counts of simple battery.