BLUE EARTH - A 72-year-old school bus driver has been charged with fifth-degree assault following an incident with a 6-year-old on a Blue Earth Area bus.
Jane Elizabeth Brooks of Blue Earth is scheduled to appear in Faribault County Court on Oct. 9. She faces a maximum sentence of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
According to the complaint:
On Sept. 14, as Brooks' bus was starting its afternoon route to return riders to their homes, the 6-year-old boy began hitting a smaller child on the head with his book bag and a football. On the video, the smaller child is heard crying as a result of being hit by the 6-year-old.
Brooks stopped the bus and asked the 6-year-old to move to a different seat, directly behind the driver. The boy refused to move and Brooks had to physically move him. The boy was resistant to Brooks' efforts to move him.
After being moved, the boy began kicking the children across the aisle. The other riders in the front of the bus reported this behavior to Brooks and she again stopped the bus.
Brooks asked some of the older riders to sit with the boy to serve as baby-sitter for him. The older riders were not willing to do so.
Brooks then radioed the school and requested assistance. School staff were not able to provide direct assistance, but did instruct Brooks to move the other children away from the boy.
As Brooks was moving the other children away from the 6-year-old, the boy spit on the children in the seat behind him. Brooks told the boy not to spit on the other children. The boy spit again and Brooks slapped him across the face.
Other juvenile riders reported that following the slap, the 6-year-old was bleeding. One of the riders came to check on the boy and told Brooks, in his opinion, that she did not need to slap the 6-year-old. Brooks reportedly responded, "Well, maybe that's what he needed."