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Denver school bus driver tried to calm kids down, then a mother started beating him up in viral video

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Kieran Nicholson
The Denver Post

A parent of a Denver Public Schools student is suspected of assault after a fracas broke out last week involving students, parents, a bus driver and a school paraprofessional.

The Wednesday afternoon incident happened in the 2900 block of Kearney Street and 32-year-old Brandi Martin, whose daughter was on the bus, is suspected of third-degree assault of an at-risk adult, according to a Denver police probable cause statement.

A video of the incident is posted on YouTube and GoFundMe by Saamyia Ochoa, claiming that children on the bus were held “hostage” and that “parents were worried as their children were screaming to get off.” The website video is entitled “Brandi’s DPS Case.”

The school bus, en route from Denver Green School Northfield, a middle school with grades 6 through 8, had made an unscheduled stop because students were “unruly,” according to police and DPS.

The bus driver and a paraprofessional, who acts as a bus monitor, were trying to get students to settle down when the bus stopped a couple of blocks away from its scheduled stop.

“The bus driver felt it wasn’t safe to proceed, they were trying to get control of the situation,” said Mark Ferrandino, superintendent of operations with DPS.

Parents quickly gathered at the bus and some students, who can be heard in the video, were screaming and crying to get off the bus.

Martin entered the back of the bus, through an emergency exit, and “attacked” the two victims, police said. One victim is over 70 and is considered at risk, according to the probable cause statement.

Martin “repeatedly struck the victim in the face with a closed fist,” according to the court document. The victim was treated at Denver Health Medical Center and was later released.

The driver and paraprofessional are on administrative leave pending a DPS investigation, Ferrandino said.

“This really was something that escalated very quickly, but it should have been deescalated,” Ferrandino said. “There were points where it could have been deescalated.”

On the GoFundMe page, Martin said she was protecting her child, acting in her child’s best interest.

“To all my family and friends. I want to thank everyone that has supported me and continues to do so. I will forever be a mother to all children around me and I do believe in being a child of god, helping and loving all as he would,” Martin wrote. “I love each and every family that has told my story, shared my story and has helped me every step of the way. I just want to say hold your babies tight, tell them you love them, be the mama bear you are because there’s nothing wrong with that, that is me.”

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