School bus driver arrested after being filmed allowing students as young as 11 to drive the vehicle
27-year-old Dehaven McAtee was arrested and charged with felony neglect of a dependent after she was filmed allowing the school children to drive the bus.
An Indiana bus driver has been arrested and charged with felony neglect of a dependent after she was filmed allowing school children, one as young as 11, to drive the bus. The culprit, 27-year-old Joandrea Dehaven McAtee, was detained this past Friday after the video of the incident was brought to the attention of the authorities by concerned parents.
According to the Daily Mail, it was found that McAtee had allowed three students — aged 11, 13, and 17 — to drive the school bus over short distances in rural Valparaiso, Indiana. Furthermore, there were other students present in the vehicle at the time, a few of whom went on to record the entire ordeal.
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) 21 September 2018
In the footage, McAtee can be seen laughing and instructing one of the children on how to drive the bus. "Okay, okay. First, what you gotta do is put your foot on the brake," she says. The student who filmed the scene said that it was a middle schooler in the driver's seat.
The video made its way back to a parent who filed a complaint to a school resource officer at the Boone Grove High School. This sparked an investigation into the incident which eventually led to the identification of McAtee as the culprit.
Porter Township School Corporation addressed the incident and revealed that both students and parents had reported the conduct to the school administration and that their claims had quickly been substantiated. "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," a statement read.
"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," adding that the safety of their students is their top priority.
She was relieved of her job by First Student and was arrested by the authorities when she came by to pick up her paycheck. Terming her behavior as "unacceptable," First Student released a statement to ABC that read, "We are incredibly disappointed by the actions of our former driver."
"There is nothing more important than the safety of the students we transport," it continued. "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."
It later emerged that McAtee had a previous record as well. She had been arrested in February 2017 for speeding in her own vehicle in New Chicago, Indiana. She was found guilty and had to pay the resulting fine. Her most recent felony charge stems from Indiana law which states that 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."