Student banned for punching bus driver
By EMMA O'NEILL
SCHOOL bus drivers in Casino are used to copping verbal abuse from their young passengers.
However, on Tuesday morning, a 13-year-old student punched Bob Dimoski as he drove his morning school bus route and now drivers from Eyears Bus Service in Casino have said they've had enough.
Gathered around the breakfast table at Spring Grove bus depot in Casino yesterday, bus drivers shared stories of the abuse they had suffered at the hands of school students. While all drivers agreed the verbal abuse could be extreme, this was the first incident of physical violence any of them could recall.
"I've never had one of my drivers hit by a school kid," said Ken Eyears, the owner of Eyears Bus Service for 19 years.
"If we don't deal with this properly it could just get worse."
About 8.30am on Tuesday, as Bob Dimoski drove a busload of kids to school, he says a high school student asked to get off the bus.
"One of the kids wanted to get off, but it wasn't his stop and I wouldn't let him off because he didn't have a note from his parents," Mr Dimoski said.
"I saw him in the mirror and then 'bam', he hit me in the face."
Mr Dimoski said he was driving through a pedestrian crossing at the time of the incident, but pulled over to call the police as soon as it happened.
"Some of the other kids on the bus were just laughing," he said.
"If I had let him off the bus and something happened to him, they'd be saying 'why did you let him off'."
Insp Scott Bingham, of Casino police, said incidents occurring on school buses and needing police involvement were 'extremely rare'.
He confirmed police were investigating the incident and said an official caution would be issued to the teenager because he was too young to be charged.
Although the child involved would not be charged, Ken Eyears said Transport NSW had advised him to ban him from the bus service for 12 months.
"He is banned from our buses for three months. I thought 12 months was a bit harsh," he said.
"But we are also expecting the child to apologise to Bob."
Mr Eyears said he had witnessed a definite downward spiral in the treatment of bus drivers during his 18 years in the industry.
"The language of the kids has got worse and we don't get as much support from the parents as we used to," he said.
According to Sven Wright, a spokesman for the NSW Education Department, the child had also been suspended from his school and that his parents did not want to comment on the incident.
"Schools still have a limited duty of care over students when they travel on the school bus, but not the same as if they are on school grounds," he said.