School bus suspended after driver assaulted

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Ritchies has suspended its Pawarenga school bus service to Broadwood Area School while an assault on a driver on May 6 is investigated.

No one was saying a great deal earlier this week, but David Ritchie confirmed that a driver, who he described as experienced but new to that particular route, had been assaulted. The Northland Age understands that a number of passengers were involved, one of them a former student, and that the driver suffered facial injuries and bruising.

Mr Ritchie said the company was working with the school, which had been very supportive, the Ministry of Education and the police.

"We want to restore the service as soon as we can," he added, "but by the same token we don't want to put people at risk."

Broadwood Area School board of trustees chairperson Denise Proctor said the service had been suspended by the Ministry of Education pending the completion of a full investigation into the incident. The board had engaged ministry advisor Chris Saunders to assist with the investigation, which was yet to be completed.

In the meantime the board had made available two school vans, driven by board members and staff, to transport Pawarenga students to and from the school each day.

- Northland Age

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