Bus Driver under investigation after duct taping allegations

12:46 PM, Nov 16, 2013   |    comments
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SURRY, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A First Student bus company employee is on administrative leave after being accused of putting hello kitty duct tape over the mouths of students if they were being too noisy.

When a five year old was dropped off at her home with duct tape over her mouth, the bust driver told her mother that it was just a game...but she didn't find anything funny about it.

"You're supposed to trust the bus drivers and when you are a bus driver you know you're going to deal with attitude you're going to deal with noise... they're kids," said Dougi Danico, who witnessed her daughter come off the school bus with duct-tape over her mouth.

"We have long-time bus drivers here in the union and they're like a father figure or a mother figure because the first thing kids do is see them in the morning, they see them at night, they feel safe, they feel protected," said SU 93 Superintendent Mark Hurvitt.

But that's no longer the case with one First Student bus driver who was assigned to Surry Elementary..after an incident that had Dougie Danico furious when her daughter told her what went on.

"Well the bus driver has tape and when we're noisy we have to wear it and I was like well don't ever put anything over your mouth and still I had no idea who put it on her mouth she hasn't told me that part and the one that it happened too she cant really breathe through her nose so i was terrified," said Danico.

On November 6th, two fourth graders at Surry Elementary reported the same issue to principal Cathy Lewis who immediately notified superintendent Mark Hurvitt.

"I heard duct tape, kids, bus those three words and that's not a good three word combination. To me that's not a safe environment, it's not appropriate and that's not something we should be dealing with in school and it's not something the parents should have to know about when their kids come home," said Hurvitt.

Superintendent Hurvitt told First Student that he could no longer employ their bus driver...who was then placed on administrative leave while the bus company conducts an investigation.

"I'm hoping something happens, I hope there's charges pressed because she shouldn't be driving a bus at all and and she should have to pay for doing that to kids," said Danico.  

The school ran into another problem that day because there was still the afternoon bus run...but no bus driver. Principal Lewis fixed the problem by riding the bus on that afternoon route.

A new bus driver was assigned to Surry Elementary the following morning.

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