School bus driver was suspended a day after altercation with pupil

A Richmond County school bus driver was suspended one day for shoving a pupil into his seat and choking him, according to records released this morning.

Donald Bonvillain, 54, of Blythe lost his composure when a fight broke out on his bus Nov. 5, Superintendent Dana Bedden’s Jan. 6 letter states.

At one point, the pupil -- who was only identified by his initials -- pushed the driver. Mr. Bonvillain responded by pushing him into a seat, falling on top of him. According to witnesses, the driver’s hands ended up around the Morgan Road Middle School pupil’s neck.

The pupil, 14, was punished for his role in the incident by being given an option of suspension for the remainder of the school year or attending the alternative school, which he chose.

The incident wasn’t the first time Mr. Bonvillain has been in trouble with the school system. Dr. Bedden’s letter states that less than a year ago a complaint was made that he “’popped’ a student on the back of the head, while referring to him with a dismissive name.

According to his personnel file, Mr. Bonvillain also received a letter of reprimand and was suspended 10 days in 1996 for referring to students using a racially derogatory term when students wouldn’t be quiet as directed.

He claimed that he referred to them as “instigators.”

In 1998, he was suspended again. This time, it was five days for receiving a speeding ticket.

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