School bus drivers are tasked with safely transporting children from their homes to school and back each day. It can be a stressful and challenging job – dealing with loud students, difficult traffic situations, and other external factors – but that comes with the territory. While most school bus drivers are to be applauded for their efforts, some disheartening incidents have recently occurred in many parts of the country. These incidents involve bus drivers being arrested for DWI’s while on the job. Here are five examples:
1. Indiana Bus Driver Veers Off Road
In Indiana, a 14-year veteran bus driver has been suspended – and will likely be terminated – after being arrested for DUI and drug possession. The incident occurred when Janet Kay Shaw was driving 21 students to Hamilton Heights Middle School last month. She veered off the road, taking out utility pole wires and traveling on the edge of the road for some distance.
Shaw eventually regained control of the bus and finished her route. While students reported no serious injuries, many did exit the bus with bruises and minor aches and pains. Because Shaw was not pulled over by police during the alleged incident, the legal process will look a little different than normal. Police will have to use a unique set of factors to determine the final charges.
2. Intoxicated Florida Bus Driver Transports Students
In a similar case in Orange Beach, Florida, a school bus driver allegedly transported four students while under the influence. The driver apparently told a security guard at the school that he hit a sign with the bus. The guard called the police to investigate, and it was determined that he was under the influence at the time of the incident.
While the name of the bus driver wasn’t readily available, the school confirmed that it involved a bus that serves students from Gulf Shores High and Gulf Shores Middle. “As you know, the safety of our students is our top priority and we take these matters extremely seriously,” Baldwin County Public Schools spokesman Terry Wilhite told the public.
3. Louisiana School Bus Driver Arrested for DWI
In Bossier, Louisiana, a school bus driver was determined to have operated a state school bus while intoxicated. Donna Atkinson, 50, was arrested after a random drug screen showed signs of impairment. She admitted to officials that she had consumed a number of alcoholic beverages the night before and was booked into the Bossier Maximum Security Facility on $1,000 bond.
4. Public School Systems Need Better Screening
While it’s impossible to catch everything, these three instances indicate that our public school systems need better screening processes for employees. Whether that means stricter background checks, more frequent screenings, or ongoing education, it’s important that something is done sooner rather than later.
5. Encourage Children to Look for Signs of Impairment
The problem with bus drivers and DWI’s is that most children don’t know what to look for. Families should make their children aware of what the common signs of driving under the influence are and who to contact if they suspect something isn’t right. This recently happened in the Indiana situation, and it likely prevented future incidents.[amazon template=iframe image&asin=1450004334]