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School bus mayhem witness speaks out

By Dwayne Parker, Reporter, DParker@wfmz.com
Published On: Mar 19 2012 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 20 2012 05:36:12 PM CDT

A school bus brawl captured on a cell phone video has parents demanding answers.

A school bus brawl captured on a cell phone video has parents demanding answers.

Students said the fight broke out because one student reportedly did not have enough room to get past another student in the aisle.

"Like we're literary cramped up. Like we're squished together. Like I can't move," said Xavier Rhodes, a student who was on the bus during the fight.

The school bus was reportedly transporting students who attend Delaware Valley High School in Chester County.

Officials explained the students used to attend schools in the Reading School District, but some were removed due to behavioral problems, and some have even been expelled.

They have since been assigned to DVHS so they can earn their high school diplomas.

But Rhodes' father, Chris Hinkle, said just getting his son to school has been a problem. He said his son went to school only eight times in January.

"Sometimes my son waited out there, his bus stop was at 7:30. He waited out there until, like, 9:30, 10:00, for nobody to show," said Hinkle.

He also said he reached out to the Reading School District for help.

"They were like, 'Oh well, you know, they'll get credit for this day.' Or, 'Wait there, we'll send somebody.' Or, 'Maybe somebody out if we can get somebody out,'" said Hinkle.

Reading School District officials said DVHS is responsible for transporting the students, and that DVHS is supposed to provide two buses and a van.

DVHS has denied the allegations regarding the shortage of transportation.

When asked about students allegedly being left on the side of the road, DVHS officials issued this statement: "There may have been a mix up with the bus stops, but I just want to reassure the parents that their children will be picked up and transported safely," said Matty Thompson, DVHS chief academic officer.

Rhodes said he refuses to go back on the bus.

"It's crazy on there. Everybody's smoking. Everybody's cursing, fights. Anything could happen," said Rhodes.

Roughly 125 at-risk students are bused to DVHS near Pottstown, school district officials said.

North Coventry Township police are also looking into an altercation that took place on a school bus that was reportedly transporting DVHS students.

Two weeks ago, investigators said a bus driver approached a 13-year-old student about smoking on the bus. The student allegedly punched the driver in the face, police said.

The 13-year-old student now faces charges of aggravated assault, simple assault and harassment, authorities said.