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Bus driver quits, case still pending

By Staff | Oct 14, 2012

A Blue Earth Area school bus driver facing a misdemeanor assault charge for allegedly slapping a 6-year-old boy on a bus has quit her job and also hired an attorney.

School Board members approved the resignation of Jane Elizabeth Brooks at Monday night’s meeting.

On Tuesday, the 72-year-old Brooks was to appear in Faribault County District for an arraignment, but that was canceled at the request of her attorney Paul Edman of Fairmont.

Instead, a pre-trial hearing has been scheduled for Oct. 22.

Brooks has been charged with one count of fifth-degree assault, which carries a maximum sentence of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Following the Sept. 14 incident, BEA officials would not comment on Brooks’ employment status.

The Register obtained an October time sheet from the transportation services department for Brooks.

It shows the last day Brooks drove her route was Sept. 14.

Again, Superintendent Evan Gough would not say if district officials suspended Brooks or put her on administrative leave.

“The district’s internal investigation is over. There’s no need to take further action, the bus driver resigned,” says Michelle Kinney, the district’s attorney. Neither Gough or Kinney would say whether the resignation involved any negotiations.

In response to the question if changes are being considered on bus routes because of the incident, Gough replied:

“We always evaluate what the district does throughout the year. Whether it’s maintenance, in the classroom or no matter what area.”

When asked if that meant an evaluation is currently being done, Gough says, “I’m not suggesting that.”

A court complaint says Brooks slapped a 6-year-old boy in the face after he was told to stop spitting on others on the bus.

Another rider on the bus went to check on the boy and saw he was bleeding.

When Brooks was told she did not have to slap the boy, she allegedly replied, “Well, maybe that’s what he needed.”

According to a court complaint, Brooks reportedly had to stop the bus twice during her afternoon route to deal with the 6-year-old boy’s disruptive behavior.

The first time, the boy was asked to move to a seat behind her’s after hitting a smaller child on the head with his book bag and football and making them cry.

When the boy refused to move, Brooks used physical force.

The complaint says the boy then started kicking children across the aisle from him.

Brooks reportedly radioed the school for assistance, but was told no one was able to help her at the time.

She was instructed to move all the other children away from the 6-year-old. As she was doing so, the boy allegedly spat on a girl sitting behind him.

The boy was told to stop spitting, but continued. That’s when Brooks slapped him in the face.