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Some school board members furious over bus video

By Dwayne Parker, Reporter, DParker@wfmz.com
Published On: Mar 21 2012 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 22 2012 10:10:27 AM CDT

Some school board members furious over bus video

READING, Pa. -

Several Reading School Board members are demanding answers after seeing video of a school bus brawl captured on a student's cell phone.

District officials are also seeking to increase security on buses as early as Thursday morning.

The issue was brought up by school board member Ismaac Figueroa Torres during Wednesday night's meeting, two days after the video first aired in a report on 69 News.

"In light of what just happened, Thursday, and Friday with transportation, and this video, a fight happening on a school bus and now all of us have been receiving phone calls," said Figueroa-Torres.

School district officials said Delaware Valley High School (DVHS) is responsible for transporting Reading School District students from Reading to DVHS in North Coventry Twp., Chester Co.

They are bused to DVHS because some have behavioral problems and some have been expelled, said school administrators.

Students alleged the fight broke out because one student didn't have enough room to get through the aisle, and tempers flared.

Chris Hinkle's son, Xavier Rhodes, was on that bus. He said overcrowding isn't the only problem.

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

Reading School Board members said DVHS is under contractual obligation to provide sufficient transportation.

"We're going to have to ask for some evidence to prove that. We're going to have to ask for some documentation to illustrate that there have been two buses going from point A to point B," said Yvonne Stroman, School Board president.

Officials are also questioning the presence of supervision on the school buses.

DVHS officials said the buses have always had monitors, in addition to a bus driver, but Reading school officials said that hasn't always been the case.

"They assured us that that was a one-time thing, that a driver was sick, they couldn't get a sub at the last minute, that kind of thing excuse, and that wouldn't happen again," said Robert Heebner, Jr., school board vice president.

69 News reached out to DVHS on Wednesday, but our calls were not returned.

Earlier this week, 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."

At the close of Wednesday night's meeting, school board members said they will schedule a meeting with top officials at DVHS as earlier as next week.