School bus driver said she forgives assailants after horrific attack

ST. LOUIS - A St. Louis school bus driver brutally attacked as she brought students home Thursday afternoon. And it was all caught on camera.

The driver, Patrula Griffin, is cut and bruised from head to toe but her spirit is not broken after she was attacked. Despite her frustration, Griffin said she forgives those who beat her.

The video shows a great deal of ugliness and anger on display at 9th Street and O’Fallon in north St. Louis. Children on and off the bus witnessed adults behaving badly.

Griffin attempted to fend off a woman attacking her with an ice scraper.

“I was blocking her with my hands and arms.” Said Griffin.

Seconds later, another woman joined in as the beating intensified. The pair dragged Griffin off the bus.

“I fell onto the ground. They began to kick me. They began to hit me.” Added Griffin.

As the beating continued, a young girl could be seen kicking Griffin while she was down.

“I didn’t even know it until I saw the video,” Griffin said.

The video of this disgusting scene continues for another minute.

“It was hard to watch. It was embarrassing. Degrading,” Griffin said.

Griffin said it’s made worse by the fact she shouldn’t have been there in the first place. You see, this isn’t her regular route. While working her normal shift, she said her employer, First Student, asked her to pick up a group of students from Kipp Academy.

Days earlier, a different bus driver reported having trouble with the students on board, Griffin said.

“He pulled the bus over and called it in and said, ‘I can’t do this route. Because the kids are out of control,’” she said.

Griffin said she found herself in a similar situation Thursday when a fight broke out between two girls. She pulled over at Prairie and Penrose. She said she called First Student and then police.

While things got sorted out, Griffin said one the girls involved in the fight was placed on another bus. The drive home continued for three miles until the stop at 9th and O’Fallon.

“I saw a lot of people standing on the other side of the street,” Griffin said.

Griffin said one of those people was the woman who attacked her. And that woman believed Griffin was responsible for the fight involving her daughter.

“The killer part about it is she just didn’t want to hear anything I had to say,” Griffin said.

“They displayed the animalistic characteristics yesterday. Like savages. They stood outside the bus like savages. The guys were standing out there. Grown men standing out there and no one even said ‘Stop, don’t do that.’”

Griffin wants her attackers brought to justice but also said she forgives them. She praises a higher power for her survival.

“I feel like God’s angels of protection were with me,” she said.

First Student responded to the incident with a statement that reads, in part:

“We are appalled and saddened by the behavior captured in the video. We are thankful our driver was not seriously injured. We are working collaboratively with police and conducting our own internal review of the incident.”

Kipp Academy responded with its own statement:

“The safety of our students is our first priority. As we do in all matters of student safety, we responded swiftly and thoroughly, according to our policies and procedures, which were appropriately followed in this instance. We take student matters very seriously and are looking into this isolated incident.”

Meanwhile, St. Louis police said they’re working to identify the suspects. Fox 2/KPLR 11 keep you posted on any updates to this story.

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