VILONIA, Ark. — A Vilonia family wants answers after seeing video of an assistant principal yanking their son off the school bus and hitting the boy’s head on the roof.
Cell phone video shot by another student on the bus shows 11-year-old Brayden Huffman being carried down the aisle, by Freshman Academy Assistant Principal Tim Bullington.
“He was snatched up like a rag doll,” said Brayden’s mom Sasha. “No matter how you spin it, you do not put your hands on a child.”
The sixth grader had just been picked up from the Intermediate School on Friday when he says his bus stopped at the High School. It’s there he says Bullington got on the bus to go over rules. Brayden says the trouble started since he was wearing a beanie hat.
“He [Bullington] said, .take than beanie off right now.’ So I said, ‘no,’ and he came over and snatched me up,” Brayden explained. “Why can’t I have my beanie on when my ears are cold?”
In the video you can hear a bump when Brayden’s head hit the roof. His family says it was enough that Children’s Hospital treated Brayden for a concussion.
“He’s got a concussion and there was no need for it,” Huffman said.
Superintendent David Stephens acknowledged seeing the video and said it’s being investigated. Stephens declined an interview, saying he can’t comment on student or personnel issues. Stephens did say over the phone that it’s district policy hats can’t be worn at all.
The Intermediate School Handbook includes a section for Student Dress. It states, “hats are not to be worn in school.” The policy does not mention no cold weather hats on buses, but it does say, “dress appropriately for the weather.”
“We had freeze warnings and all of my kids wore their beanies,” Huffman added.
The handbook also spells out misbehavior on the bus gets a warning, but if it happens again goes up to corporal punishment and suspension.
“Bray was not being rude. He was not being combative, he was not fighting,” Huffman said.
That’s why she’s questioning what’s going to happen now.
“It was not right. I’m not happy and I’m not letting this go,” she said.
Huffman says her 16-year-old son and several friends were suspended Monday after wearing beanies into school in protest.