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Bus driver accused of taping mouths shut

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CENTRAL-- A bus driver is accused of taping the mouths of six students shut.

A spokeswoman for First Student, the company in charge of bus service in Central, told News 2 surveillance video shows students of Central Intermediate School being loud, even rowdy. 

The driver told the students to calm down.  When they didn't, video shows the driver pull the bus over, get out of her seat, and put tape over the students' mouths.

Maureen Richmond of First Student said the driver seemed to be taping the mouths jokingly, and the students appeared to play along.  When the students got to school, however, employees contacted parents.

A parent in Central commented on the situation: "It's more than crazy!"

Wilbert Moore said "a person like that shouldn't be around students, because to do something like that, you must [have] a temper problem."

The driver could still be driving a bus.

Richmond called the driver's behavior "clearly unacceptable," but said she did not know what the disciplinary actions were.  Richmond did not know if the driver was fired or even suspended.  When asked if the driver could still be driving students on another route, Richmond said yes.

"She shouldn't have a second chance.  You don't touch private people's children," parent Kent Villagomez said.

First Student told News 2 it runs background checks on every driver prior to being hired.  Then, periodic checks during a driver's term of employment.  This particular driver has been with the company since 2008 and has had no problems, according to the company.

News 2 contacted Central Superintendent Mike Faulk, who would not comment beyond saying the school system acts quickly when dealing with situations like this one.


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