Two Michigan City-area grade school boys are accused of physically assaulting their bus driver and two bus monitors.
The boys, ages 7 and 8, were released to their parents after given a summons to appear in court on battery charges. LaPorte County Police officer Harlan Williams said findings of the investigation will be turned over to school administrators for possible further action.
The Springfield Elementary School boys were throwing a lanyard back and forth across their seats while being taken back home Friday afternoon. A 73 year old female bus monitor, Lucille Buke, approached the oldest boy and told him to stop. According to police, the boy started cursing at the woman and calling her names. As the bus monitor verbally admonished him, the other boy began spewing insults at the woman.
The boys also kept throwing the lanyard, forcing the driver, Shaunda Gilbert, to stop the bus on Springville Rd. Police said the youngest boy threatened to get off the bus and headed toward the door, but the driver blocked his way. The boy shoved her to the floor and violently pulled on her hair while slamming her head against the floor, police said.
After letting go of her hair, police said the boy punched the 35-year-old bus driver in the chest and other areas of her upper body. The oldest boy then stepped in and punched the driver in the head and face several times, police said.
Another bus monitor, 19-year-old Patrick Morris, was also punched in the thigh when he tried to help calm down the boys, police said.
All three of the employees were able to gain control of the boys just prior to the arrival of police.
Deputy Williams said the boy admitted striking the individuals they didn't like being told to stop ''playing around.'' They were handcuffed and returned to their parents with a summons to appear in court May 11th.
According to police, warnings were also issued that if they didn't show up for their hearings the parents would also be arrested.
Police said Gilbert complained of a severe headache along with neck pain and had some redness to her face. Buke complained of pain to her face while Morris experienced pain to his leg.
LaPorte County Police Chief of Detectives John Boyd said video footage clearly shows the school corporation employees did not retaliate.
''They were truly part of the solution and not part of the problem. They just stood there ground and took it,'' said Boyd.
Michigan City Area Schools spokesperson Betsy Kohn said the employees returned to work today and both boys are being disciplined under guidelines outlined in the school corporation's code of responsible behavior.
Kohn said she could not release specifics because it was disciplinary matter.