POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A Polk County School Board employee and high school student have been arrested after deputies say they got into a fight on a school bus.

According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, 68-year-old Algarene Richards and a 15-year-old student got into an argument on a Polk County Schools bus, which was taking students home from Frostproof Middle Senior High School.

Deputies say the argument escalated between the former substitute school bus attendant and student and they began to batter each other.

“Students have no right to become physically violent with a school board employee. Similarly, adults who are in a position of authority cannot use excessive physical violence against a student. In this case, the facts demonstrated that both involved should be criminally charged,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.

“Every day, Polk County Public Schools is entrusted with safely transporting tens of thousands of students to and from school. Like we do at our campuses, we strive to create school bus environments in which students feel supported, encouraged and, most important of all, safe. We hold ourselves, our employees, and our students to the highest of standards of behavior and respect for one another. Violence of any kind will not be tolerated,” said Polk County Deputy Superintendent John Hill.

Deputies say the student was charged with battery on a school official and was taken to the Juvenile Assessment Center. Richards was charged with child abuse. She has a criminal history that includes three batteries, three aggravated assaults with a weapon, a dangerous discharge of a weapon, resisting a law enforcement officer, and shoplifting.

According to Polk County Public Schools, Richards was a substitute bus attendant who was hired on Sept. 13, 2019. The district terminated her employment effective Wednesday.