Bus company: Employee who roughed up kid was wrong

A woman riding a school bus in southwestern Michigan to control rowdy behavior was "totally wrong" to sit next to an unruly boy and slam him inside the vehicle, her boss said Friday.
AP Wire
Oct 14, 2012

 

The employee, Heidi Mullin, was fired after the incident Wednesday in the Galesburg-Augusta school district, said Ed Dollin, president of Auxilio Services, a company hired to handle student transportation.

A video taken by a student and posted online shows the 7-year-old being slammed into the side of the bus by Mullin.

"There are plenty of safety nets in place. This should have never occurred," Dollin told The Associated Press. "We take responsibility."

He said Mullin is "extremely remorseful." Her phone number is not listed and she could not be reached for comment.

Dollin said Mullin was the fourth employee to ride the bus since reports of bad behavior by students in late September. He said the incident was preceded by the boy screaming, throwing his book bag, sticking his head out of the window and threatening the driver.

He said Mullin decided to sit next to the boy to try to defuse the situation and was grabbed around the neck. That's when she "panicked" and slammed him against the interior wall of the bus.

"By sitting in the seat with him, it was like putting gasoline on a fire. It was totally wrong," Dollin said.

He said the driver should have pulled over before the incident or the student should have been removed at an earlier stop. Dollin said Mullin has her own video of what happened before she struck the child.

A 5-second video, apparently shot by someone on the bus and posted on Facebook, shows a boy being lifted from a seat and slammed into a window with a loud bang. Mullin yells, "sit down!"

It wasn't clear if the child was injured. The boy was back in school Thursday, Galesburg police Sgt. Jeff Heppler said.

Police are investigating the incident as well as a claim by Mullin that the boy threatened her, Heppler said.

"We are trying to secure both what led up to this and what played into this," Heppler said. "Anybody could face charges, whether it be at the juvenile level or the adult court level depends on the age and what the court and/or prosecutor determines needs to be done after we have completed our investigation."

Superintendent Tim Vagts said the incident was unacceptable.

"We're working with families to listen to their concerns," he said.

Parents held a daylong protest outside the district's bus garage. About two dozen parents and students were outside Thursday evening, carrying signs and calling for action by officials. Cathy Taylor, one of the parents who turned out, said her 13-year-old son was on the bus when the incident took place.

"He couldn't even believe what he was seeing," Taylor said.

Dollin said the Cincinnati-based company started working in Galesburg-Augusta, 50 miles southeast of Grand Rapids, on Aug. 1.

"Our goal is to rebuild the trust of the community," he said.

Comments

Wingmaster

This kid sounds like he was completely out of control. "The incident was preceded by the boy screaming, throwing his book bag, sticking his head out of the window and threatening the driver." What happens if precious Jr. here injures another student? Does the school get sued for not addressing this known, unruly kid. I would like to see the video of "slamming the kid against the window" My guess is something had to be done to take control of the situation. If the kid is grabbing someone by the neck its time to use some force to get hold of the situation. The reason this kid most likely is out of control is because nobody paddled his little a$$ when he needed it. Yes, folks this is what you need to do - within reason - when a kid is out of control. This is part of the problem with our society because kids are growing up without limits or discipline. Spare the rod, spoil the child!

43°North

I agree Wingmaster. Parents are too lenient with kids today. Let the kid get away with anything. Then claim foul when someone else has to discipline their precious little child who could do no wrong. Hands around the throat = self defense in any book. Those parents should be thanking that lady for doing their job for them.

horst

two for two today 43, I can't agree with you more...the parents should have been required to find alternative transportation for the kid way before this happened. Sounds like he might need professional intervention. My wife has been an educator for 23 years and you are spot on. She is so sick of the parents she can't wait to retire. I remember getting in trouble at school back in the 60's early 70's and I would beg the teachers to not tell my parents because it was 100 times worse when I got home. I raised my 2 kids the same way, not much trouble and two college grads and master degrees.

jkraemer

Odd story. Ever watched an informercial and questioned the accuracy of the product presented? There are plenty of safety nets in place? Four employees put on an out of control bus since the beginning of the school year, and the bus environment is still out of control? How can that be when there are plenty of safety nets in place? Very strange the comment that "the driver should have pulled over before the incident or the student should have been removed at an earlier stop." Where is the written policy to support this action? Where is the explanation from the bus driver and the fourth bus aide that has rode that route since the beginning of the school year for not following this policy? How is it the boy is still in school? Is the boy suspended from the school bus until completely resolved, or still riding the bus? How many bus tickets (Referrals) written and their outcomes since the beginning of the school year? So much is missing in this story that it makes good reason to be cautious until finding out all that happened and what bus environment support actually exists at that school. My assessment of this event at this point is it looks like a bus driver and aide riding along stayed one day too long working for that employer, but this is just a guess since the story does not provide the essential facts. What a school bus safety net can actually look like is available at this link: http://theschoolbus-jkraemer.blo...

 

Post a Comment

Log in to your account to post comments here and on other stories, galleries and polls. Share your thoughts and reply to comments posted by others. Don't have an account on GrandHavenTribune.com? Create a new account today to get started.