Was Blue Earth bus driver in the wrong? - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Was Blue Earth bus driver in the wrong?


ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- A Blue Earth school bus driver has been charged with fifth-degree assault for slapping a 6-year-old passenger who she says was hitting a smaller child on the head with his book bag.

We first brought you the story on Oct. 5, but questions are still being raised.  Primarily, how much control does a bus driver have when trying to reign in unruly kids on the school bus?

The driver, 72-year-old Jane Brooks, said she had to physically move the child to another seat,  which is typical procedure.

"They (drivers) are told you don't touch a kid unless it is an altercation or something you need to separate," said Rochester Public Schools Transportation Supervisor Jeff Kappers.  "Even then I think you need to be careful."

Brooks said she radioed for help and school staff told her to move other children away from the boy.  A criminal complaint said Brooks told the boy to stop spitting on nearby students and when he did so again, she slapped him across the face.

The incident has the online community talking about whether or not Brooks was in the wrong.

"It's quite a commitment to become a bus driver," said Kappers. He said there are certain steps to prepare to drive a bus, but drivers need to be prepared for anything. Kappers tells us a lot of times the bus company involved just ends up calling the police and getting them involved.

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