School officials, police investigate bus assault

Herald Staff Writer

HUNTINGBURG — Southwest Dubois School Corp. officials are investigating a complaint they received from a Southridge Middle School parent alleging that a bus driver had assaulted two students.

Transportation Director Al Mihajlovits said he and Superintendent Mike Eineman were to meet with the accused driver — who contracts with the school corporation through an outside firm — sometime today to determine whether further action would be needed.

Mihajlovits would not name the driver or the student involved.

Both Mihajlovits and Eineman were out of town when the complaint was made at the end of last week, but Southridge High School Principal Kelly Murphy and middle school Assistant Principal Annette Altmeyer handled the case at that time. The driver was suspended from the route Friday.
Mihajlovits did not know whether the driver was allowed to complete the route this morning.

Almost all of the district’s buses are equipped with cameras. Administrators have video footage of the incident in question and are reviewing that as well. Mihajlovits added that the corporation’s priority is to maintain a good environment on all bus routes. Principals will sometimes review tapes or even ride along on routes to offer advice to the drivers about how best to deal with students, especially if a group is becoming unruly.

“For us, the important thing is the safety of our students and also realistically the safety of our bus drivers,” Mihajlovits said. “It’s important that our kids get home and to school safely.”

Huntingburg Assistant Police Chief Ronnie Bowman concluded an investigation into the complaint this morning and planned to turn over his findings to the Dubois County Prosecutor’s Office later this week. Bowman interviewed both of the juveniles and the bus driver and reviewed what he said was a very clear video from the bus camera. No criminal charges had been filed.

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