Bus driver charged with abusing students in wake of disturbing footage

Maricopa County Superior Court(MESA, Ariz.) — An Arizona school bus driver was arrested for allegedly abusing two elementary school students in a disturbing incident that was captured on the bus’s surveillance camera.

Police said Jamie Tellez, a 50-year-old bus driver for the public school system in Mesa, Arizona, became enraged last week and deliberately slammed on the breaks while in the middle of the street, causing an 11-year-old to “fly forward and forcefully strike his head into the windshield,” police said Wednesday.

The impact from the victim’s head was so hard that it left a large crack in the windshield and the child was left with injuries to his head and hip, according to police.

Tellez allegedly yelled obscenities at the child, who was one of the last two students on the bus, grabbed him by his backpack and shoved him toward the back of the bus, according to surveillance footage released by the Mesa Police Department.

“If you were behind this seat, then you wouldn’t be flying around the bus, would you?” Tellez was heard saying. “You are the biggest pain in the a– you know that?”

He was also heard threatening the other student with violence, the footage showed.

Investigators said the incident began when one of the students threw a piece of paper toward a trash can and missed. Before the abrupt stop, he was heard saying, “I’m going to f—– knock the s— out of you. … You better get your a– down there and pick that up right now.”

The department said it caught wind of the incident when the school district reached out with the video. Tellez was charged with felony child abuse, threatening or intimidating, endangerment and reckless driving, according to police.

“The Mesa Police Department works closely with Mesa Public Schools to ensure the safety of all our youth,” the department said in a statement. “The irresponsible behavior by this bus driver put several students in harm’s way and is facing multiple charges. We are thankful that our school district quickly reported this incident to our officers.”

Mesa Public Schools officials said Tellez has been placed on administrative leave and will be recommended for termination. He had been working with the district since 2018.

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