Candy catapult drives Aussie school driver to police

Thu Feb 26, 2009 1:00am EST
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By Pauline Askin

SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - An Australian school bus driver hit in the back of the head by a hard sweet has become a local hero after taking his unruly students to the police station to report their crime.

Veteran driver Graham King had asked the primary grade students to buckle their seat belts and stay seated while he drove them back from school in a Brisbane suburb, but they refused, running around the bus instead and throwing things.

One of the objects -- which turned out to be a piece of hard candy -- hit King in the head, and fed up by the commotion, he headed straight to the police station.

"It could have been dangerous if it had gone through the windshield or knocked me out," King told a local newspaper, referring to the candy projectile.

The suburb's police district inspector described the driver's actions as "brilliant."

"The bus driver involved in this incident has acted responsibly and taken his duty toward the bus seriously and he has placed the students welfare and safety first," Ipswich Police District Inspector Kevin Keillor told reporters.

"Police attended two bus accidents in recent weeks, one which was fatal and Mr. King's decision may have prevented another," he added.

King's zero-tolerance disciplinarian approach comes a few months after Australian father Sam Burt made headlines in December for making his 5-year-old son walk 13 km (8 miles) to school every day after the boy was kicked off the school bus for hitting the driver in the head with an apple core.

Burt's "tough love" inspired an appreciation group on social networking site Facebook.

(Reporting by Pauline Askin, Editing by Miral Fahmy