First grader says Minneapolis bus driver hit him with belt

- A first grader from Harvest Preparatory School in Minneapolis says his bus driver smacked him with a belt and threatened to do the same to other kids in the vehicle. Kingdemetrius Pendleton says his 7-year-old son, also named Kingdemetrius, came home from school Wednesday with the disturbing allegations.

“I said, ‘Are you sure, son, because this is something that could make a person lose their job,’” said Pendleton, who immediately contacted school officials.

According to Pendleton, officials at Harvest Prep privately interviewed three other kids who were on the bus and all three confirmed Kingdemetrius’ story.

“Who knows what he could have done if no other kids were on the bus as a witness,” he said.

Pendleton says the driver yanked his son out of his seat and smacked him twice with a belt. He also cussed at the kids and threatened to smack others if they didn’t behave.

“When [he] pulled over, [he] had intent to do something and his intent was to instill fear into a child and that’s exactly what he did to my son,” said Pendleton.

Minnehaha Transportation says the driver is “shocked” by the allegations and denies any wrongdoing. According to company officials, the children were throwing things at the driver and kicking his seat. The driver told the children if they didn’t stop they would be written up, but that was the extent of the interaction.

Harvest Preparatory says the driver has been removed from routes to and from the school, and the incident reported to the Minnesota Department of Education.

While Minnehaha Transportation stands behind the driver, they say he has been put on desk duty until the investigation is complete.

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