A woman was arrested after she was caught on video letting children as young as 11 to drive her school bus in a rural area of Valparaiso, Indiana. It was a student who reported the incident back to the school.
As reported by ABC News, 27-year-old Joandrea McAtee was arrested last week and charged with felony neglect of a dependent. According to Indiana laws, 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.”
McAtee was caught on video by one of the students of Boone Grove High School as she allowed a middle schooler to take the wheel of the bus while other students were on board. In the video, the woman can be heard saying to the girls behind the wheel: “Don’t you tell no other adults about this,” and “First, what you gotta do, is put your foot on the brake.”
I another video, the woman is not seen but can be heard saying to the students “it’s all good, it’s all good. I’m letting her stop at Michael’s stop,” as a little girl is seen driving the bus as if nothing.
Students and parents reported that the woman let students aged 11, 13 and 17 to take turns driving the bus in short distances in rural Valparaiso, Indiana. After the complains were made, an investigation was launched by the Porter Township School Corporation, and McAtee was fired from First Student, the company which operates buses in Porter Township.
“We are incredibly disappointed by the actions of our former driver," First Student said in a statement to ABC News.
"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."
Rochelle McNamara told CBS News that her daughter reported the incident to her, and added: “I don’t understand where an adult who’s driving a bus gets an idea that that is okay.” According to CBS, other parents said that their kids had complained about the bus driver before, some said she used to yell, and one girl even arrived crying at her home.
McAtee was being held at Porter County Jail on Friday; no more court information was immediately released.
AN ELECTRIC FENCE NEAR A BUS STOP
In related news, a man from Henrico County, Virginia put up an electric fence around his home, which happens to be next to a bus stop. Bryan Tucker stated that he was tired of the students trespassing his property and leaving trash on his property.
He said, "I'm not in charge of other people's children. I'm not directing other people's children what to do. All I can do is protect myself, and that's why I've got a fence up."
Fed up neighbors and parents called the police to report the man's actions, and after public works realized the fence was placed on a county easement, Tucker was ordered to take it down.