The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a school bus driver after they were alerted that she forced 24 students to get off the bus and walk 10 blocks to school, Tampa Bay reports. At around 7:35 a.m. on Tuesday, 53-year-old Angela Williams called 911 claiming that a chemical smell was emitting from her 2007 bus model’s engine.
Williams went on to say that someone poured some kind of chemical on her bus, and she had to pull over on Thirty-Ninth Avenue North in St. Petersburg. The bus driver told dispatch that the chemical smell prompted her to exit the bus because it was making her sick. She added that this wasn’t the first time the incident has transpired.
It was reported that Williams feels as though she is being targeted because another employee doesn’t want her to keep her job as a Pinellas County school bus driver. “It’s getting ridiculous. I feel that my life is threatened,” Williams said.
When the dispatcher asked Williams, who had been with the school district since 2005, if anyone else was on the school bus with her, she stated that she made the 24 students get out of the bus and walk 10 blocks to Lealman Innovation Academy, located at Twenty-Eighth St. North, without supervision.
St. Petersburg Police officers were dispatched to the area. They stated that one of the students, who was told to exit the bus and walk to school, was not accounted for until later in the day. All students were reportedly safe after the incident, but it infuriated several parents of the students at Lealman Innovation Academy, including Wendi Carron.
“I’m angry, so angry that someone would drop off children in an area that is not safe at seven something in the morning to be walking around unsupervised,” she said. “There is no reason. There is no excuse.”
Pinellas County School District spokesperson Lisa Wolf say concerns grew after learning that a school bus driver, who has a clean driving record and does not have any disciplinary issues, told 24 students to get out of the bus and walk the rest of the way to school. Wolf said that the bus driver’s actions were a violation of their school’s policy.
Wolf said that the bus driver’s actions were a violation of the school’s policy.
After Williams claimed that someone had poured a chemical on her school bus, a careful examination of the bus was executed and district officials say that they did not find anything wrong with it, just as they didn’t find an issue before. It appears that the Pinellas County school bus driver made a previous report of a chemical smell on the bus that wasn’t actually there, authorities say.
Officials with the School District stated that Williams will refrain from driving any of the Pinellas County school buses while an investigation is ongoing.
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