Fight involving parents, students on Chester County school bus leads to arrest, officials say

CHESTER COUNTY, S.C. — A fight involving parents and students on a school bus last week in Chester County led to an arrest, officials said.

Deputies said two students began fighting on a Chester Middle School bus on Sept. 9. The school bus arrived at a stop shortly after the fight began, and the parent of one of the students involved in the fight stepped onto the bus.

Deputies said as the situation escalated, the bus driver, Celistine Sanders, drove to the Chester County Sheriff’s Office parking lot.

Sanders then honked the horn in order to get the attention of law enforcement. Deputies responded and broke up the fight.

Around this time, deputies said other parents began to arrive at the sheriff’s office parking lot. One parent of a student involved in the fight began fighting with the parent of another student who had been involved. Deputies said they broke up that fight shortly after.

Chester Middle School and Chester High School staff then arrived on the scene and helped dismiss students to the parents who arrived, according to the sheriff’s office.

Deputies said one parent was arrested and is facing charges for interfering with the operation of a school bus. Another parent was ticketed for disorderly conduct.

A week later, district leaders recognized Sanders for her actions.

“I hereby formally commend Ms. Sanders for going above (her) official duties,” said Dr. Antwon Sutton, superintendent of the Chester County Schools District.

Earlier this week, Channel 9 reporter Glenn Counts spoke with Jacob Hall and Jayden Mondragon, two students who said they were on the bus during the fight.

“I was nervous and concerned ‘cause I was nervous they might come up to the front and start fighting there, too, and that’s where I was,” Hall said.

“I heard someone screaming in the back, so I looked back. Then I saw random girls jumping another girl, punching her,” Mondragon said.

In a video shared exclusively with Channel 9, a parent was seen boarding the bus to come to the aid of her child, who was involved in the fight. That’s when Hall and Mondragon say things escalated.

“The mom got outside the car or the minivan, and so then she got inside the bus and started protecting her child, and then she hit two kids in the jaw,” Mondragon said.

“It’s concerning ‘cause they could end up killing each other by the way they was fighting,” Hall said. “When that mama was hitting that girl, if she would have kept hitting her, she could have easily killed her.”

Kristopher and Joy Widener said they also had children who were on the bus at the time of the fight. They expressed concerns for their safety after seeing a video of this incident.

“It’s scary. It’s really scary. It’s crazy what the world is coming to,” Joy Widener said. “They are supposed to be protected. They are supposed to be safe on that bus. They are supposed to be safe at school.”

“I don’t believe they are safe at all. And I grew up in Chester schools,” Kristopher Widener said.

Dr. Antwon Sutton, superintendent for the Chester County School District, released a statement in response to the incident saying:

“We wish to thank our law enforcement partners at CCSO for their swift action in diffusing this serious situation. We will continue to fully cooperate with them during their investigation.”

Deputies said the investigation into the incident is ongoing and that additional charges may be pending.

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