GALESBURG, Mich. (WOOD) - The mother of a 7-year-old boy plans to press charges against the adult supervisor on her son's school bus for allegedly assaulting the second-grader on Wednesday.
The alleged incident happened on a Galesburg-Augusta Community Schools bus and was caught on a cellphone video taken by another student on board and posted on YouTube.
The boy's mother, Shannon Roodbergen, admitted to 24 Hour News 8 that her son, Hunter Dawson, was misbehaving on the bus.
"He's yelling, screaming, standing up -- you know, normal kid stuff," said Roodbergen. "If, obviously, you were a kid once, everybody was a kid once, you know you don't always behave."
The video shows the woman supervisor slamming the 7-year-old against the wall and window of the bus and yelled at him to "sit down."
The mother called police around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. Police then talked to the parent and student, who appeared to be fine. She said her son has bruises all over his body and saw a doctor Thursday night.
Augusta Police Chief Jeff Heppler told 24 Hour News 8 the video appears to be authentic and to have been taken on Wednesday. The investigation is just getting started and no arrests have been made.
But both police and the school district said there is more to the story of what happened in the minutes before and after the incident.
"There's always a lot of pieces to a puzzle and five seconds of video doesn't make the whole report," Chief Heppler said.
The district said there is a second video, taken by the woman accused of slamming the kid against the wall, that shows more. But they won't release it publicly, they say, in order to protect student privacy.
The district told 24 Hour News 8 the bus supervisor is not an employee of the district, but works for private transportation company Auxilio Service of Cincinnati, Ohio. The school district privatized bus services and hired the company within the past few months.
"We have really worked hard to provide a good transition and implementation," Galesburg-Augusta Superintendent Tim Vagts said. "We do still feel comfortable with the privatization decisions we have made."
The supervisor was initially suspended and later terminated by the company.
24 Hour News 8 spoke over the phone to Ed Dollin from Auxilio Services Thursday night. He said in a phone conversation that Mullin was protecting herself.
"Even the parent admitted the child covered her (Mullin's) head with a coat and tried to strangle her," said Dollin.
Dollin added, "You should never put yourself in a position where you compromise the safety of a student or yourself. You should never touch a student… this is a clear violation of our policy and that's why she was terminated."
Dollin said the transportation company had been "trying to rectify the situation with this student and other students" on this bus. "You can request that a student be removed but we cannot remove them ourselves."
"Other people on the bus even said this child created a situation on the bus making it unsafe. There are many issues that led up to this mishap. We don't absolve ourselves of blame but even the parents have openly acknowledged the student was rambunctious…but you should never engage or touch a student."
"I mean, that's abuse, child endangerment and assault," said Roodbergen.
The bus supervisor was not available when 24 Hour News 8 went to her home twice on Thursday. But her daughter, Jessica Phares, commented.
"I don't know everything that went on in that situation. I know that she wouldn't do it on purpose just to harm a child. She's not that kind of woman."
But Roodbergen is not swayed.
"I'm pressing charges against her. I don't agree with any adult doing anything like that, so I'm going to do whatever I can to get her fired."
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