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A Fridley Public Schools bus driver faces charges for allegedly assaulting a middle school student who rides his bus.

Paul Duane Martin, 72, of Ham Lake, has been charged with misdemeanor fifth-degree assault and misdemeanor fifth-degree assault inflicting or attempting bodily harm.

According to the criminal complaint, Fridley Middle School Principal Amy Cochran contacted Fridley Police Department school resource officer Jason Elasky at 8:42 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 9, requesting to speak with him about an assault that occurred earlier that morning involving one of the middle school’s students.

Cochran reported that Martin assaulted a 12-year-old student in the Fridley High School parking lot, according to the complaint.

Elasky viewed school security footage and found the incident had occurred at 7:45 a.m. on the sidewalk in the north parking lot of the high school, charges say.

According to Fridley Public Schools’ Communications and Community Relations Director Jael McLemore, the student victim got off of Martin’s bus at the high school.

McLemore said Martin was a contracted driver employed by Voight’s Bus Company in Fridley. Martin did routes for Fridley High School and Middle School, in addition to Hayes Elementary School.

In the video, Martin is seen running off the bus, pushing another Fridley Middle School student, and then tackling the victim from behind, charges say. Martin and the victim both fall to the ground, and Martin is on top of the victim for a short period of time before getting up, grabbing an item from the ground and walking back onto the bus, according to the complaint.

Fridley police officers arrested Martin later that day and booked him into the Anoka County Jail.

When speaking to Fridley police officers, Martin allegedly admitted that he “lost it.”

Martin’s services with the district have been terminated.

“First and foremost, our thoughts are with our student, whose well-being is our top concern,” McLemore said. “No student should ever have to experience this type of senseless act. The safety of all our students is a high priority for us, and we are outraged and saddened that this unfortunate incident happened to one of our students.”

Martin had a hearing Wednesday, Nov. 10, where interim conditions for bail were set, including having no assaults, remaining law-abiding and attending all future court appearances.

Martin’s next scheduled court appearance is at 8:30 a.m. Feb. 10, 2022.


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