School bus driver, 72, slaps out-of-control 6-year-old, draws praise, criminal charges

There's no eating, spitting, or corporal punishment on the bus.
There's no eating, spitting, or corporal punishment on the bus.

Jane Brooks, 72, has been a bus driver in tiny Elmore, Minnesota, for 15 years. A couple of weeks ago, she was behind the wheel when a six-year-old went into meltdown-misbehavior mode.

SEE ALSO: David Gustafson, 66-year-old school bus driver, arrested after writing love letter to 15-year-old

The boy started kicking his fellow passengers. Brooks called the Blue Earth Area School District twice for help, and was told to put the kid in the front seat where she could keep a better eye on him. But that didn't straighten him out -- soon, the kid had turned around and was spitting on kids in the seat behind him.

Brooks lost her cool and ended up slapping the kid. And though many Elmore residents are in her corner, she now faces a misdemeanor assault charge and the possibility she could lose her jobs driving a bus and working at a local nursing home.

From FOX 9:

The six-year-old got a bloody nose, and the complaint states that Brooks told the other students on the bus, "Well, maybe that's what he needed."

"This is a very difficult case to decide what to do," he said. "I can sympathize with the need of the bus driver to maintain order and discipline. At the same time, you can't turn your back on a case where someone slaps a six-year-old in the face."

As word spread around town about what may have happened, many people were hesitant to go on camera because it's a small town where everyone knows one another. Most of the people sided with the bus driver, saying the boy was out of control.

The boy's mother isn't happy about her son's behavior, but thinks Brooks deserves the criminal charge.

"He's six. I don't care what he did. I don't condone his bad behavior at all, but he didn't deserve any of that," Melonie Schiefelbein told Fox. "They can side with her all they want. I don't think she deserves any praise. 'Oh, poor Jane.' No, she doesn't deserve that."

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