GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A now former Comstock Park Public Schools bus driver is facing charges for allegedly assaulting a 7-year-old student.
Officials say Scott Gordon Baker, 54, is expected to turn himself in soon on a charge of misdemeanor assault and battery in connection to the Nov. 30 incident.
Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker said charges were authorized last week after investigators reviewed video of an incident he said showed Baker assaulting a student.
Sgt. Joel Roon with the sheriff’s office said the bus driver had been trying to get the student to sit in an appropriate place on the bus. When the child refused, Roon said the driver used his knee to “nudge” the boy before aggressively forcing him into the seat. Roon said the driver did not punch or hit the child.
The child’s family is furious.
“He ran in the house crying and screaming that the bus driver hurt him really bad,” the boy’s grandmother Jo Pruett told 24 Hour News 8. “For a bus driver to come to my child and pick him up and slam him on the seat, there’s something wrong with that man.”
Roon said Baker was immediately suspended after the allegations surfaced and now no longer works for the district. It was unclear whether Baker resigned or was fired.
On Tuesday afternoon, a school bus not affiliated with Comstock Park was parked in front of Baker’s Grand Rapids home. The person who answered the door and later drove the bus away said she did not know Baker. However, according to Baker’s Facebook page, the woman has been his girlfriend since 2013.
Fil Iorio, an attorney representing Baker, contacted 24 Hour News 8 by phone late Tuesday afternoon.
“Mr. Baker is a decent and good person. He would never intentionally hurt anyone,” Iorio said. “He cares about people. He works in a tough environment and he does the best that he can.”
Court officials said Baker has not yet been arraigned on the misdemeanor charge that carries a maximum penalty of 93 days in jail and a $500 fine.
Comstock Park Public Schools issued the following statement:
“There was an incident involving a Comstock Park Public Schools student and bus driver. We investigated this situation promptly and immediately placed the driver on administrative leave. The driver is no longer working for the district. Please be assured that all students are safe and we take matters of this nature very seriously.”