PUNTA GORDA, Fla. – The mother of two boys involved in a fight with a substitute school bus driver is questioning why her sons are charged with a felony while the driver only faces a misdemeanor charge.
Sherri Shaw said Monday on NBC's "Today" show that she's not satisfied with the punishment that driver Albert Taylor (search) faces. He has been charged with misdemeanor battery and could spend a year in jail if convicted.
Mark Ernest Dickinson, 15, and his stepbrother, Corey Gene Hendershot, 13, were arrested last week and charged with assault on a school official, a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in juvenile justice facility, said Russell Kirshy, the family's attorney.
A videotape of the fight, taken by a bus security camera, has been played extensively on national television news shows.
According to Lake County sheriff's reports, the fight happened last Tuesday afternoon when Taylor tried to put a seat belt on Hendershot who refused to wear it.
He then told Hendershot to sit up front, but the boy refused. When Taylor walked to the back of the bus, Dickinson got in his way and cursed at him. Taylor then slapped Dickinson in the face and grabbed his throat, the video shows. Dickinson is seen on the video as pushing and punching the 66-year-old bus driver.
The boys' father, David Shaw, said the older teen felt like he was protecting his younger brother. The father acknowledged on Today that the boys could have been calmer on the bus, but that the punishment doesn't fit the crime.
Taylor has been suspended without pay. A number listed for an Albert Taylor in the area was disconnected and he could not be reached for comment Monday.