A 68-year-old former school bus driver in New Hampshire has been charged with multiple counts of simple assault on students with disabilities.
The bus driver, identified by authorities as Virene Poliquin, is facing nine misdemeanor counts of simple assault, Hudson, New Hampshire Police Chief Tad Dionne said during a news conference Tuesday. Poliquin is no longer employed by Durham Bus Company, which is contracted with the local school district.
Poliquin has been accused of assaulting three juvenile students, who range from ages five to six, onboard a school bus that transports students with disabilities on Feb. 17. The Hudson School District was notified by a parent on Feb. 20 about the incident a few days prior, prompting an investigation by the school district, which turned the matter over to police, according to authorities.
She was said to have assaulted one student seven times, and two other students once, Chief Dionne said. The nature of the alleged assaults included slapping, kicking, grabbing, covering of their mouth with her hand and pouring water, police added. All of the alleged assaults happened Feb. 17 on the bus, police said,
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No injuries were reported.
An investigation was ongoing to determine if there were any anything similar had happened on other occasions. Chief Dionne called the alleged actions by Poliquin "completely unacceptable, disturbing and without justification under the law."
“I have been a police officer a long time, needless to say there are not too many events that make me pause when reviewing a case," Chief Dionne said. "This incident did so, the victims in this case are among our most vulnerable."
The bus company was said to be cooperating during the investigation.
The woman being accused was taken into custody on Monday, and has since posted a $500 cash bail, according to police. Poliquin is expected to appear in court on April 6 for an arraignment.