School Bus Driver Fired For Leaving Special Needs Student Behind
Five hours after a 19-year-old with Down syndrome was scheduled to be dropped off by a school bus driver at a school in Orland Park, Ill., the student was found at the back of his bus, fast asleep.
For the Alpha School Bus company, the incident was grounds for the driver's immediate dismissal.
"Once the company realized that the student had not been dropped off at her designated school, we immediately returned the child to school and contacted school officials," Regional Manager Caprice Sanfratello said in a statement. "This occurrence is unacceptable and cannot be repeated ... Bus drivers are required by law to walk the bus after completing a route, and before leaving the bus, in order to protect students and prevent this kind of incident."
Press reports on the incident did not give the names of the driver or student involved.
While the trope of the irresponsible bus driver has most famously been represented in pop culture by Otto in the animate TV series, "The Simpsons," there has perhaps been no more lackluster bus driver in recent memory than Anthony Judd.
The 48-year-old resident of New York City had as of this past May quite the track record -- 16 suspensions for 11 separate incidents during his time as a driver for the Delaware-based Silhouette Tours & Travel company.
Such a litany of offenses meant that if Judd were caught again behind wheel, he'd be arrested on the spot. But he was driving again on May 8 when his empty white tour bus was caught ignoring a stop sign in the Queens Midtown Tunnel.
Knowing what being pulled over could lead to, Judd made a run for it, and threatened the life of the police officer on the scene as he led authorities on a high speed chase.
"The sergeant had to jump out of the way" of the bus, an eyewitness told New York's Daily News at the time. "With the way he was driving, he would have been run over and killed."
Judd was finally apprehended near Skillman Avenue in Queens, and the list of charges against him included attempted vehicular assault, fleeing an officer and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.
But of all the recent incidents called to mind by the Orland Park oversight, few stack up to the story of Rebecca Wells. The 51-year-old was completing her workweek for the Los Angeles County Department of Internal Services, and had sent out many, many emails. When the workday ended, and her co-workers left for the weekend -- she remained. It wasn't until the next day that she was found dead by a security guard, still at her cubicle, having passed away from natural causes.
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Dan Fastenberg was most recently a reporter with TIME Magazine. Previously, he was a writer for the Thomson Reuters news service's Latin America desk. He was also a reporter and associate editor for the Buenos Aires Herald while living in South America.
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