A 27-year-old bus driver in Indiana was arrested for allegedly allowing students to drive a school bus, which was captured on video this week.
Joandrea Dehaven McAtee was arrested on Sept. 21, and charged with felony neglect of a dependent, ABC News reported, adding that a person can be charged with the crime if a decision “places the dependent in a situation that endangers the dependent’s life or health.”
McAtee allegedly allowed an 11-year-old, a 13-year-old, and a 17-year-old student to drive the bus for a short period of time in Valparaiso, Indiana. Other students appeared to have recorded the incident.
“Wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, Boone grove bus driver let’s a middle schooler drive, middle schooler drive,” wrote one person, apparently a student on Twitter, showing the clip.
The driver in the video can be heard telling the students how to drive the bus. “First, what you gotta do, is put your foot on the brake,” she says in the clip.
A student who recorded the clip said a middle school-aged student was driving.
Wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, Boone grove bus driver let’s a middle schooler drive, middle schooler drive. pic.twitter.com/IdF4zRkhRG
— Casey✨ (@_caseyweber) September 21, 2018
McAfee Fired, Investigated
First Student, the firm that operates buses in the area, fired McAfee over the alleged stunt.
“We are incredibly disappointed by the actions of our former driver,” First Student said in a statement to ABC News on Sept. 23.
It added: “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.”
WPTV reported that a parent complained to a school resource officer at Boone Grove High School and triggered an investigation into the stunt.
Porter Township School Corporation said that they investigated the matter, finding that McAfee allowed the kids to drive the bus.
“Upon receiving information regarding this incident, PTSC administration, First Student (our bus service provider), and the Porter County Sheriff’s Department immediately began an investigation,” the township told ABC. “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.”
According to the ABC report, McAfee was previously arrested for driving a personal vehicle 54 mph in a 35 mph zone in February 2017. She was found guilty and paid a fine.
“This individual’s actions are not reflective of the hard work, dedication, and professionalism of our staff,” Porter Township’s statement 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.”
The Associated Press reported that as of Sept. 22, McAfee remained jailed. It is not clear if she has a lawyer.