Letter: Let’s focus on the troublemakers, not the driver

To the editor:

This letter is in response to an article in The Herald on Tuesday (found here) regarding an alleged “assault” by a bus driver, Don Astrike. I’ve known Mr. Astrike for 26 years and there is no one who cares more for our children than him.

The parent/legal guardians of the boys have seen the video and have chosen not to press charges. Why? Everyone knows this was not an assault, but rather a reasonable approach to get the boy’s attention and prevent further harassment of the girl. Never would I have imagined that Mr. Astrike could get in trouble for protecting another child in this manner. I have two girls (ages 10 and 8) and it makes me proud to know that he would put himself at risk in order to protect them.

The root cause of this problem is not Mr. Astrike, but rather two unruly boys who could not keep their hands off a girl. After Don did his best to protect the girl, he was rewarded by having one boy curse at him, one boy give him obscene gestures, and a group of Southwest Dubois School Corp. officials try to decide whether to retain his services. Are you kidding me?

Let’s regroup and focus on the root cause, which is clearly the behavior of the 12-year-old boys. An appropriate punishment would be for the boys to extend a sincere apology to Mr. Astrike as well as the girl they harassed (i.e., bullied). They should also be required to clean Mr. Astrike’s bus because of the filthy language and obscene gestures they left behind.

Mr. Astrike, I’m proud of you and I support you 100 percent regardless of the outcome.

—Rob Hamilton

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