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The School Bus Keyword Index linked above is a valuable tool to utilize when searching articles and information relevant to the student transportation industry. If you are interested in obtaining a copy of an article or would like permission to re-print an article in your publication, you may contact RC Kelly Law Associates at 215-896-3846 or help@rckelly.com.

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Bullies on a School Bus Convicted

On August 20, 2010, a male teen was convicted of sexually harassing and terrorizing fellow school bus riders on routes in Portage Township, Indiana. Ashley Toney, who is now 18 years old, was charged and tried as an adult for bullying that occurred during much of the 2008-2009 school year.

In total, there were six charges brought against Toney; three charges for sexual battery, one charge for felony criminal confinement, one charge for public indecency, and one charge for criminal recklessness. The situations that brought these charges ranged from lighting a piece of paper on fire on the bus, placing his legs across the aisle of the bus and preventing a student from exiting, to actually fondling two female students.

The felony charges alone could sentence Toney up to three years in jail with the possibility of additional time added for the lesser misdemeanor charges. Additionally, two other teens were charged for their roles in the bullying. Both co-defendants pled guilty to lesser charges in exchange for their testimony against Toney. Significantly, the bus driver was also charged for felony child neglect for allegations of ignoring the behavior on the bus. However, the driver was found not guilty in November.

What does this mean for School Bus Operators?

Parents, students, teachers, bus operators, bus drivers, and all community members should be relieved that something can, and is being done in response to bullying. Altercations and inappropriate conduct between students on the bus should be addressed and documented. Ignoring known incidents of bullying on the school bus can have dire consequences for operators and drivers in addition to leaving a victimized child helpless. Only detailed and factual documentation can show a pattern of bullying behavior that can then be addressed and remedied. Documentation of observations and efforts to stop the situation can also provide a liability defense for operators and drivers.

 

For information about this topic contact RC Kelly Law Associates at
215-896-3846 or via e-mail at
help@rckelly.com

 



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