Sunday, 23 September 2018

School bus driver arrested after allowing students as young as 11 drive

School bus driver arrested after allowing students as young as 11 drive

An Indiana school bus driver was arrested after she was filmed allowing children as young as 11 drive the bus.

Joandrea Dehaven McAtee, 27, was detained on Friday and charged with felony neglect of a dependent.

Police claimed that McAtee allowed three students who were 11, 13 and 17, to drive the school bus for short distances Thursday in rural Valparaiso, Indiana.

A person can be charged with neglect of a dependent if a decision 'places the dependent in a situation that endangers the dependent's life or health,' according to Indiana state law.

'First, what you gotta do, is put your foot on the brake,' the driver, identified by authorities as McAtee, is heard saying in one video.

The student who filmed the video said it was a middle schooler who was driving.

WPTV claimed that a parent complaint to a school resource officer at Boone Grove High School prompted an investigation. School officials were quickly able to substantiate the claim.

McAtee was immediately fired by First Student, the company which operates buses in Porter Township, after the video and allegations surfaced.



In a statement to ABC News, First Student said: 'We are incredibly disappointed by the actions of our former driver.

'There is nothing more important than the safety of the students we transport.

'Behavior such as this is completely unacceptable and totally at odds with what we stand for as a company.

'The driver has been terminated. We have a zero-tolerance policy for employees whose actions may harm or put others at risk'.

McAtee was previously arrested in Indiana for speeding in her own vehicle in New Chicago, in February 2017 for driving 54 mph in a 35 mph zone, court records show.

She was found guilty and paid the resulting fine.

Porter Township School Corporation said students and parents both reported the conduct to the school administration and its investigation 'quickly substantiated' that McAtee allowed students to drive the bus.

School bus driver arrested after allowing students as young as 11 driveSchool bus driver arrested after allowing students as young as 11 drive

'Upon receiving information regarding this incident, PTSC administration, First Student and the Porter County Sheriff's Department immediately began an investigation,' the township said in a statement.

'The investigation quickly substantiated the allegations and the driver was relieved of all duties involving Porter Township School Corporation.

'The Porter Township School Corporation is angered and disappointed in the actions of this driver. The safety of our students is a top priority'.

The corporation said McAtee's actions are not reflective of the hard work, dedication, and professionalism of its staff.

It added: ' We are thankful for the students and parents who came forward quickly with this information to both PTSC administration and law enforcement allowing us to respond expediently and take the proper steps to insure student safety'.

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