Bus monitor arrested after fight with non-verbal student at BOCES
Perinton, N.Y. (WHAM) - A Rochester woman was arrested after deputies say she fought with a non-verbal student on a bus at B.O.C.E.S. in June.
According to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, 36-year-old Schugita Thomas was working as a bus monitor for the Monroe School Bus Company.
On the morning of June 19, Thomas became involved in what is described as a "physical altercation" with an 11-year-old non-verbal student while the bus was parked at the B.O.C.E.S. building on O'Conner Road in Perinton.
In court documents, Maria Melli-Dupre, director of transportation for the Rochester City School District, said the mother of a student contacted them to complain about her son having scratches and bruises.
After the district called, Monroe School Transportation sent the district a video recording from the bus on June 19. After reviewing the video, Melli-Dupre said she felt Thomas' actions were "excessive, unwarranted and unwanted by the child."
Court documents state the recording showed the victim in his seat and Thomas seated next to him playing on her cell phone. The victim touched Thomas on her arm lightly and was told to stop. He then touched her arm again with the back of his hand, which prompted Thomas to push the victim against the window aggressively and pin his arm behind his back.
During a ten-minute struggle that ensued, the victim became very upset and was fighting to get away from Thomas and during this struggle sustained his injuries.
"In my opinion, the monitor created the situation as the victim did nothing to warrant her actions," Melli-Dupre added. "After my investigation, I disqualified the driver of the bus from working under our contracts because she did nothing to intervene and stop this from happening."
In court documents, Monroe School Transportation safety director John Tando said Thomas did not act in accordance with her training and the company's policies. She was subsequently fired.
Monroe School Bus investigated the incident and referred the case to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office. Deputies arrested Thomas on Tuesday.
Thomas was charged with harassment 2nd, unlawful imprisonment 2nd, and endangering the welfare of a child. She was arraigned in Perinton Court and released on her own recognizance.
Thomas is scheduled to return to court on August 29.