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Associated Press

HELENA — The Helena School District has fired a school bus driver for slapping a middle-school student across the head when he wouldn't stop saying the word "penis" on the bus.

James Campbell, 62, also received a deferred sentence for assault in city court last week for slapping the 12-year-old boy on Oct. 7.

City Prosecutor Bob Wood said the dispute between Campbell and the student from C.R. Anderson began when Campbell objected to the boy loudly repeating the word "penis," despite Campbell's request to stop.

The boy's response to the bus driver's request was that "penis" isn't a derogatory word, but is in fact, a scientific term.

At that point, Wood said, Campbell slapped the boy. Wood said the altercation was captured on a video camera, which all school buses have.

School officials said their bus contractor, Treasure State Transit, fired the driver immediately upon learning of the incident.

The boy did not require medical attention, Wood said.

Superintendent Bruce Messinger said a district and police investigation led to the district's decision to take Campbell's bus route away.

Neither Campbell nor his attorney returned messages seeking comment from the Helena Independent Record Thursday.

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