…And the Children on the Bus Go Help, Help, Help: Bus Driver Accused of Parking on Railroad Tracks and Threatening to Kill All of the Children

Fifty-five children in Florida are being questioned about an incident with a public school bus driver, who allegedly stopped their bus on a train track and threatened to leave the children there if they did not start to behave — as a train approached. The driver, who had a child on the bus, reportedly lost her temper over misbehaving kids and decided to use the classic “behave-or-I-will-have-a-train-crush-you” parental technique.

Children told their parents that they frantically calls on surrounding cars to help them as they stayed parked on the tracks as a train approached. Notably, according to the kids, she said that she would take her own kid off before leaving them. Ahhh, maternal instinct.

It is a case ripe for an intentional infliction of emotional distress claim against the school district as well as assault and negligence. The school will obviously argue that the use of trains to threaten children with crushing deaths is a violation of policy and practices. As such, they could challenge the use of respondeat superior. However, the driver was within her scope of employment in driving the bus. This type of intentional tort will often cut off vicarious liability but not always. Even then, the school would face straight negligence in hiring, training and supervision.

The buses have video recordings so the matter should be easy to resolve once the tape is reviewed.

Of course, parents can now use the “be-good-or-I-will-put-you-on-a-school-bus-with-a-crazy-driver” threat on their own children.

For the full story, click here.

7 thoughts on “…And the Children on the Bus Go Help, Help, Help: Bus Driver Accused of Parking on Railroad Tracks and Threatening to Kill All of the Children”

  1. I don’t know which is scarier: the fact that this happened, or the responses to the story on the newspaper’s website. Many feel that the driver’s actions were “a little over the top.”

  2. Lunatic bus drivers are best seen in Dirty Harry movies, not in living breathing color.

    This story is just another example of why in the digital age, its time to do away with the archaic concept of a brick and mortar public school system.

  3. I agree Mespo and Rafflaw. It is probably a lead-pipe synch for liability.

  4. Prof. Turley,
    That is one interesting disciplinary measure used by this clear thinking bus driver. I would agree with Mespo that the School District and its insurance carrier should be worried with this set of facts.

  5. JT:

    I think the School Board has a problem. If the driver was acting in furtherance of her employer’s interests–though in a crazy, misbegotten way– liability likely attaches. I think a persuasive argument could be made that maintaining bus discipline is in furtherance of the Board’s interests,and this driver’s albeit extreme methodology gives rise to liability for intentional torts committed against her passengers.

    I see it no differently than a bill collector being so incensed at a debtor that he slugs the guy because he will not pay. There I suppose few would argue that the creditor is not responsible for the actions of his employee.

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