BARNEGAT – Barnegat Township School District officials are investigating an incident in which a woman boarded a school bus and exhibited what some deemed “strange” behavior.
Two separate videos posted to social media show a woman engaged with students heading home on a school bus from the Russell O. Brackman Middle School.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian Latwis confirmed the woman in the videos is a bus transportation aide, who was not assigned to the bus where the incident occurred.
“She usually takes her bike to work and with the snow, she wasn’t able to do so,” shared Latwis. “One of the bus drivers who works with the transportation department knows her and offered to give her a ride to the school where she works so she could get on the bus for her shift.”
Chief Keith A. Germain said an officer met with the aide at the bus garage.
“The officer reported that in the course of his conversation with the aide, he did not detect the odor of an alcoholic beverage or obvious signs of impairment,” he said. “Based on the officer’s interaction with the aide and the fact that the aide was not operating the bus, the officer had no legal basis to detain the aide for the purpose of conducting sobriety tests.”
“Obviously, from seeing the video, there were things that were said and behavior we don’t condone,” Latwis said. “Based on the results of our investigation, there will be possible consequences for the individual or individuals involved.”
One of the videos shows the bus aid seated with her face mask beneath her nose and only partially covering her mouth. She has something in her hands, which students told their parents appeared to be a vape.
“You’re so confused you don’t even know how to react to me,” said the woman as students videoed her. “It’s my [inaudible].”
A boy can be heard in the background suggesting the woman do some “Fortnite dances,” to which she replies she hasn’t been up on Fortnite since a year and a half ago. She also used a vulgar word in referring to one of the children.
The first video is 20 seconds in length and is supplemented by a 5 second video. The aide is now on the floor of the bus.
“You’re digging yourself deeper,” says a boy on the bus, as children giggle in response to the incident.
Board of Education President Sean O’Brien said he was disturbed by what he saw on the videos as both a parent and board member. He confirmed that it is up to school administrators to act on the matter as part of day-to-day operations and has already spoken with Latwis.
“I am confident that the administration plans to do a complete investigation and get the complete and true story,” said O’Brien. “While we have the videos, it’s also important to check into the incident entirely. We don’t want to rely on hearsay or social media comments.”