Bus driver's response to rowdy students results in his arrest

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Handling rowdy children is in the job detail for a school bus driver.

And by simply using his training, a Columbia County bus driver could have avoided an arrest.

A Columbia County school bus driver is arrested for assaulting a rowdy student.

Investigators say there is a procedure for handing this kind of situation.

And as News 12's Kristen Cosby reports, Columbia County bus drivers are trained to go beyond the state requirements.

The literature teaches Columbia County bus drivers what to do when students act up: Speak firmly, discipline in private and remain calm.

But investigators say one driver didn't do that.

It's an almost daily job for bus drivers: handling student behavior problems on the road.

And investigators say the job proved to be too much for Michael Wallace.

They say in February, on a ride home from school, two 9-year-old Evans Elementary School students were threatening to shoot and kill each other.

Investigators say Wallace told them to stop fighting, but they didn't.

Investigators say after that, Wallace pulled the bus over, got out of his seat and forcefully pushed one of the nine year olds into his seat. He then cursed at the student, and investigators say Wallace never told any of this to school officials.

Wallace resigned from his job that same day.

After an investigation, officers arrested Wallace for simple battery last week.

"After they've been in the classroom all day, they get in the bus, they're a little rambunctious, ready to get home and it's the drivers responsibility to teach correct behaviors," says Bus Director Dewayne Porter. He says all drivers are trained to deal with student behavior beyond what the state demands.

Georgia requires 6 hours of training with students on the bus.

Columbia County drivers go through close to 100.

They also watch instructional videos.

A big theme in this training is: remain calm.

When students are fighting, like they were in February, drivers are trained to pull over and call someone.

"He could have contacted the school system, or better yet the Sheriff's Office, then," says Capt. Steve Morris of the Columbia County Sheriff's Office.

Capt. Morris says the Columbia County school system did contact the sheriff's office as soon as they found out about this.

Wallace is out of jail on a $1000 bond.

Because the nine year olds were threatening to kill each other, they have both been charged with making terrorist threats.

Their cases will be resolved in juvenile court.