Paulding County school bus driver fired after viral confrontation with parents

A Paulding County school bus driver charge for a confrontation with parents that was caught on camera has since been fired. The district made that disclosure in a statement regarding the findings of its internal investigation.

Authorities say 43-year-old Chrystal Dawn Johnson was driving the bus earlier this month at the time of the confrontation at a bus stop near Old Harris Road and Jimmy Lee Parkway.

Crystal Dawn Johnson (Paulding County Sheriff's Office)

According to Paulding County schools, Johnson was filling in for the regular driver, who had called out sick.

"As part of its personnel investigation, the school district interviewed multiple individuals involved in the incident and has reviewed extensive video footage that includes the entire bus route," the district wrote in part. "The school district’s investigation has found that the overall behavior of the students that afternoon was characteristic of an elementary bus route, until the students became increasingly frightened and upset as the situation evolved."

The district said several policies were not followed even before it got to the intersection.

"The investigation also determined that as the bus left Allgood Elementary School, and well before the physical altercation occurred at the bus stop, there were numerous violations of safety and operating protocols. Several of these violations were egregious and jeopardized student safety," the statement reads.

At some point, cell phone footage shows a parent using their SUV to block the bus at an intersection. That is when witnesses say things became physical.

"As a school district, we hold ourselves to a much higher standard. In this instance, these well-established protocols for the release of students from the school bus were not followed. This, in addition to a general lack of communication, allowed the situation to quickly escalate and become a serious safety concern," the statement continued.

Dallas police helped dismiss the students from the bus while a supervisor helped transport the remaining students on the bus, the school district said. Ultimately, the district said all the students arrived home safely.

"The school district wants to be very clear that it also does not condone the actions of the individuals who became involved in the physical altercation. The altercation that occurred at the bus stop was separately and independently investigated by the Dallas Police Department, and on January 30, 2023, Dallas PD charged both the bus driver and the parent/guardian with misdemeanor simple battery," the statement reads. "The school district has recommended that the Board of Education approve terminating the driver’s employment. The school board unanimously approved that recommendation on Feb. 7, 2023."

Johnson was out of bond awaiting her next court date on battery charges.

The name of the parent charged has not been released.