A Bourbonnais Elementary School District No. 53 bus driver was arrested Thursday for mob action after he allegedly taunted a 10-year-old student and encouraged others on the bus to chase after the boy. Russell A. Schmalz, 46, was arrested by the Kankakee Sheriff’s Police Department, Chief Deputy Ken McCabe said. Schmalz is also charged with endangering the life of a child and battery.
“The incident occurred last Friday,” McCabe said, alleging that Schmalz was taunting the boy by calling him “gay.” “When the boy got off the bus the driver encouraged several other students to go after him and tackle him. Our investigation shows that occurred,” McCabe said. Investigators are also looking into allegations that Schmalz got off the bus and grabbed the boy he had allegedly been taunting. Bourbonnais School District officials would only say the driver has been terminated.
It’s unclear if hate crimes charges would apply.