Norman school bus driver out of job after altercation with student; Police investigating

NORMAN, Okla. - Police say they are investigating an incident between a Norman Public Schools bus driver and a middle school student earlier this week that ultimately led to the bus driver's firing.

Regenea Berry says she brought the incident to the attention of district officials after learning of the altercation from her son earlier this week.

"He usually never tells me anything," said Berry Thursday evening to NewsChannel 4. "But I knew something was wrong."

"We appreciate the parent for bringing this situation to our attention. When we were notified, we took immediate action to investigate and the driver no longer works for the district," said Norman Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Joseph Siano in an emailed statement to NewsChannel 4. "Our buses are an extension of our classrooms and we will not tolerate individuals who do not demonstrate civility and respect for others."

In cell phone videos obtained from students on the bus, they show just parts of the altercation between Berry's son, 13-year-old La'trelle Johnson, and the bus driver.

In the videos, Johnson -- who is seated in the front -- can be seen interacting with other students in the back. What isn't known from the videos is what led up to the videos being recorded, or what happened after.

"Shut your lips," the bus driver says, seemingly directing the comment towards Johnson.

Later on the driver tells Johnson, "Sir! Face the front and zip your lips -- quit being a jack."

"Shut your mouth, quit aggravating other people," the driver tells Johnson, about six minutes into one of the videos. "I'm tired of listening to you -- I need to be listening to her," apparently referencing another adult sitting over the driver's right shoulder, in front of Johnson.

"Why did you put me in the front?" Johnson says.

At one point, the driver stops the bus, stands up and moves into the aisle towards the teenager.

"This is what I'm going to do right here," the driver says. "Scoot yourself over to the window, sir."

At this point the video shows Johnson moving towards the window while flopping down into the seat.

"I didn't say lay in the seat. Sit up, get over to the window and -- like in kindergarten -- leave everybody else alone."

In the four videos NewsChannel 4 obtained, two cover roughly the same time frame and are roughly the same length -- approximately eight minutes long.

"Ya'll need to control your little animal up here," the driver said, about eight minutes in to the video.

"Who are you calling an animal, you look like a (expletive)--," Johnson replied, before stopping himself and sitting down.

Johnson -- and his mother, Berry, -- are black.

In talking with Johnson Thursday, he said when he got of the bus, the driver directed a racial slur towards him.

"I was like, 'Really? You're just going to call me this, in front of everybody? You know we're recording you, right?"

In the videos provided to NewsChannel 4, that interaction wasn't seen.

Berry says she didn't believe her son's story, at first, until she watched some of the videos.

"Upset, I'm very upset," said Berry, 28, a nurse and mother of two. "To even think that a grown-up would even approach a kid that way."

Norman Police telling NewsChannel 4 that they can't say much about what happened, but that they are investigating the incident.