Okay, I know that I haven’t been around here lately, and I’m not making excuses (well, maybe just a little!), but I’m here today!!! I need to vent and I know all my “fans” are here for me. hehe
Here is my problem. Why or even how is it possible for someone to be sued when they are protecting children? Let me explain.
A school bus driver makes many stops during the day either picking up children or dropping children off. The laws state the distances you need to keep back from a school bus. Shoot, kids have questions on their driving tests about rules pertaining to school buses.
Bus drivers, even if they are the driver/owner of the bus, have things they have to do to protect our children, after all, we put our kids in these drivers hands everyday. So, if there is an incident such as, a car that doesn’t stop when the bus has it’s flashers on, a car that pulls around the bus while it’s stopped, an oncoming car that doesn’t stop when the bus is stopped, or anything else that could put our children in harms way, it is the responsibility of the driver to report exactly what happened. Sounds reasonable right? I mean, the same bus travels the same route everyday. For the most part both in the morning and in the afternoon. Sometimes, even at lunch time. We all know when to leave our home in the morning so we can miss the school buses!
So here is my problem…I know a driver that while making her stops, noticed a truck in her rear view mirror moving around vehicles behind her. Just trying to move up closer to the bus, probably just wanting to get ahead of the bus so they could move on their way without having to go through the stopping and starting! Anyway, as the driver continued on her route, she noticed the truck was becoming a little more reckless and it worried her. She had an aide and four children on the bus and she certainly didn’t want anything to happen. And can you guess what happened???? You got it, once the truck got close enough, the driver tried to pass the bus, on a back two lane road. Now, did I mention that the truck was pulling a boat??? Oh yeah, not a little boat either! The truck then pulled back into the lane with the bus, cutting the bus off. The school bus had to move over to the side of the road, keeping the bus out of the ditch, avoiding a roll over. The children, needless to say, were scared to death. These children, our children, recognized this truck. This wasn’t the first time they had seen it following the bus. The driver was able to keep everyone calm and get them to their stops. Of course, between the aide and the children, asking questions, wanting to know why the truck had done this, and being plain scared, the driver had no choice but to report this to the owner of the bus.
After she explained to the owner what had happened, who was on the bus, and what she did to protect them, the owner told her she had to write a report and document what had happened. The driver did just that. The State Board of Education informed her that she had to go to the courts and make a complaint. If she didn’t, she could not only lose her job but the parents of these children could sue her. Of course, she went to the courts and asked how she needed to report this, asking if there was some way to keep the driver of this truck away from her bus during these hours when she was going to be delivering our children home to us after school. She was told to go to the commissioners office and tell them exactly what had happened to her that afternoon. The owner and driver did just that. Thinking that this was over and would be taken care of, our bus driver found out that the State was pressing charges against the owner of this truck. For each one of our children on the bus, he was charged with reckless endangerment!!! Yay!!! This is as it should be, right??? The parents of these children had written letters to the bus owner and driver, asking what was going to be done? Did the driver report the truck for doing what he did? Was it going to be safe for their child to ride on the bus? And other questions as well. Our bus driver protected our children the best way she could. She followed the rules. As it should be!!!
Now, the owner of this truck (the business name was on the side of the truck), was arrested. He was put in jail and charged by the state. Bail was set. The local television station put it on the news and the paper reported it.
Now, the school buses have camera’s on them. The problem is, the camera’s face the children, the mirrors, and out the front of the bus. The video was reviewed by the Board of Transportation, the bus owner, and I don’t know who else, anyway, it was determined that the company’s name on the truck was not clearly visible and there was no way to prove, absolutely, who this truck belonged to, even though the bus driver knew who this was in the truck. The driver got a notice, letting her know the charges were being dropped. Again, she didn’t press any charges, she only reported what had happened to her that day, delivering our children to us.
Months go by, the incident put behind her, until…yep, did you guess what happened next??? My friend, this bus driver is now being sued!!! For what you ask? For loss of time from work, loss of business because it was reported in the paper and on the news, and punitive damages!!!! Will someone PLEASE explain to me, how in the world can she be sued for reporting an incident that happened to her and our children, while coming home from school one day???
This bus driver nor the owner placed these charges against the truck driver, the State did that. They didn’t arrest this truck driver, the State did that. They didn’t place bail against this truck driver, the court did that.
HOW CAN A BUS DRIVER, LOOKING OUT FOR THE SAFETY OF OUR CHILDREN, BE SUED FOR DOING THEIR JOB???
Now, she is going to have to go through the trouble and expense of going to court and defending herself. Why? Because she was protecting our kids!!! How in the world, in this day in time, is this legal? If the driver of this truck’s child was on the bus, don’t you think he would have wanted her to report the incident? She did her job.
Don’t you think we need to get this around? Shouldn’t we help our bus drivers out when they are clearly looking out for the best interest of our most precious thing in the world, our children?????
Let me know what you think. I think our congressmen needs to know this. I don’t think it should be allowed for this to happen to any bus driver. There was never a “false” statement made. Only a statement of the incident! Oh, and the video can’t be shown in court. Know why??? To protect our children!