GALESBURG, Mich. (WOOD) - Video of a school bus employee throwing a student against the window outraged the Galesburg-Augusta community -- but the woman shown in the video said it doesn't tell the whole story.
Heidi Mullin contacted 24 Hour News 8 Friday to request an interview about what she called one of the worst encounters she has ever experienced with students riding a bus. She said she wants to clear the air and give a clearer picture of what really happened.
In spite of the pickets, being fired, and the video of the incident being played repeatedly on television, Mullin said she has no shame about her behavior.
"I don't abuse children. I'm not a bad person," Mullin said. "I was doing my job."
The original video, recorded on Oct. 10, is just a few seconds long and shows Mullin slamming a 7-year-old against the bus window.
Mullin said it is an out-of-context snapshot of a chaotic ride.
Things had been so bad on Galesburg-August school bus No. 20 that Mullins, the transportation supervisor at the time, was asked to ride along. She aimed to document just how bad the bus was getting in order to get school officials to respond
But she never expected things to get as out of hand as they did.
"Kind of felt like I was tried and convicted and found guilty before anybody ever even asked me what happened," she said.
The video first made public was shot by a student in the back of the bus. Mullin was recording everything on her cell phone, too.
==Watch above: A brief clip from the video recorded by Mullin.==
In the video she shot, students can be seen yelling, screaming and standing up while the bus was in motion.
One student seemed to be causing a great deal of the trouble, challenging Mullin verbally and at one point throwing his backpack at her. He's the same student featured in the video that sparked protest.
Mullins said what actually happened left her with no choice. She said the 7-year-old in the video had covered her head with his coat and began to choke her.
"He didn't wish for me to sit there," she said. "He thought he would get rid of me any way that he could."
As she was being choked, she said, she pushed the child into the bus wall, sparking a hailstorm response that she never expected.
Mullin said she tried repeatedly to get help before the incident. She called her bosses and even tried calling 911.
She said her bosses told her, "Under no circumstances are you to remove that child from the bus or have that child removed from the bus. You're to take him to his designated bus stop."
During a scheduled stop at the middle school, she asked an administrator there for help and if he could take the boy
"He has to be brought back at the location that you got him," the administrator can be heard on the video responding.
Mullin said the ordeal has turned her life upside down, but she feels no ill will for the child.
"He's seven. He's still learning," she said.
She said she does want her job back.
"I've been looking for a job and can't find one."
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