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Bus Company Suspends Driver Investigated for Making Inappropriate Comments to Seneca Valley Student

The 18-year-old bus driver made improper comments to an eighth-grade student, but the remarks did not warrant filing criminal charges, according to Jackson Township police.

A.J. Myers & Sons has suspended a Seneca Valley school bus driver while Jackson Township police investigate comments they say he made to an eighth-grade student.

“The school bus driver was suspended on Monday and will remain suspended until the investigation of the allegations is completed,” said a statement from A.J. Myers, the company Seneca Valley contracts with for bus services.

Jackson Township Police Chief Terry Seilhamer said an investigation concluded Thursday evening found the 18-year-old bus driver made inappropriate but not criminal comments to the student.

Although there were claims the driver also texted and made improper comments to the student on Facebook, Seilhamer said police found no evidence of any exchange.

No charges have been filed against the driver.

“We don’t have any evidence whatsoever of criminal activity,” he said.

Seilhamer said the student saw the driver outside school grounds in a social setting during the district’s holiday break in late December and early January.

The driver, who did not have the student on his bus route, then made comments to the student about his life that Seilhamer described as inappropriate for an adult to discuss with a juvenile. The conversation did not include any sort of solicitation, Seilhamer said.

The chief said Seneca Valley became aware of the incident Monday after a fellow student mentioned it to staff at the middle school. The district took immediate action, he said. 

“The school and police conducted numerous interviews,” he said.

A.J. Myers said it cooperated with Jackson Police and the school district in the investigation.

“If the allegations are proven to be true by the investigation, the driver will be terminated at the conclusion of the investigation,” the company said.

The bus company said it would not provide any other information because the matter involves personnel.

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Jen February 02, 2013 at 12:44 PM
I know it may be legal, but I would NOT be comfortable with an 18 year old driving my children's bus and being responsible for that many kids. Many 18 year olds are not mature enough to handle the many dangerous situations that can arise for a bus driver.
Tom February 02, 2013 at 02:27 PM
I agree Jen
PVS February 02, 2013 at 02:34 PM
Ditto
svmommy February 02, 2013 at 03:00 PM
In the article, someone commented that they wouldn't trust an 18 year old to drive their kids around. I completely agree for a few reasons: My son was friends with younger students when he was 18; many kids are students themselves at 18; how long have they actually had their license? are they really skilled enough to control a bus FULL of kids of any age? In my opinion, for all those reasons, that's just asking for trouble.
jim mang February 02, 2013 at 03:28 PM
i thought cdl was 21 years og age
Janet Butler February 02, 2013 at 03:34 PM
there is no way an 18 year old should be driving a school bus!!! He's had a drivers license for 2 years!!!! And no way should an 18 year old be responsible for the life and safety of that many children every day. He has proven he is not mature enough to handle himself appropriately!
kandy barkley February 02, 2013 at 04:32 PM
Regardless of whether his comment was illegal or not, it obviously sounds like something a bus driver should not be saying to a student. He should be fired no matter what! If he isn't, the school will be hearing about it. My daughter rides his bus. She hates him, says he is so mean.
M Kiefer February 02, 2013 at 08:27 PM
I completly agree! Just because the bus driver is 18 DOES NOT neccessarily mean he has had his driver's license for 2 years! Also, driving is a huge responsibility in a car let alone a large bus with many students! Most insurance agency won't cover drivers that are that young for "company insurance" like that. I certainly hope that my children's bus company is not hiring driver's under 25. The weight of responsibility that job holds is entirely too much for an 18 year old. Too many distraction, and too little experience. The mere fact that they would question wether a minor is being honest or not about innappropriate comments the driver made is absurd. I was under the impression that sexual harrassment was any comment or gesture that makes someone uncomfortable. A person in that position, (regardless of age) SHOULD NOT be making comments of any sexual nature whatsoever! How sad that they would question a young minor as to wether they are being honest about this or not.
Steeler Fan February 02, 2013 at 09:33 PM
Do not generalize people it is most dangerous. The majority of soldiers that saved the world from NAZI Germany at Normandy Beach were 18 to 21 yrs old. Many were also killed. The Army will let them drive a Tank. They still can't drink a beer. All I see is a young man made a inappropriate remark to a female student. Apologize and move on.
Jen February 02, 2013 at 09:37 PM
After reading all the comments, I'd love to see Patch address 1) what is the legal age for driving a bus and 2) how many bus drivers for SV (and/or local districts) are that young? Maybe we can pressure the bus companies to have a minimum age of 21 (like RENTAL CAR COMPANIES HAVE DONE FOR YEARS!!). Crazy!
Peter Griffin February 02, 2013 at 09:39 PM
I hate to be the one to remind you all that many 18 year olds are the ones serving in our military and took it upon themselves to serve this great nation. I will agree that 18 is young and many insurance companies will not cover a driver under 21 operating a bus or commercial passenger vehicle. There are two sides to the age issue, an 18 year old is much less likely to have a medical emergency while driving a school bus then someone who is older and has been retired for many years. There is no excuse for inappropriate comments from the bus driver to a student, whether it be on a bus or in any setting outside of school. If the allegations of inappropriate conversations are true, the driver should be dismissed from his job. I'm sure that the Jackson Twp. Police are doing a very thorough investigation.
CH February 03, 2013 at 12:45 AM
I know a lot of people over 30 that I wouldn't trust to drive my dog. Perhaps the bus company has a hard time finding qualified (can pass a background check ) people of any age who actually want to drive a bus full of cussing screaming disrespectful punk kids. Of course 'your' kids aren't punks, but others are. I wouldn't scream at the bus company too loud, you just might get what you think you wish for.
Ray Vos February 03, 2013 at 01:08 AM
I agree wholeheartedly.....what is an 18 year old doing in a job with that much responsibility? Bad decision on the part of the bus company to hire him in the first place.
Pierre February 03, 2013 at 01:32 AM
I agree 100% with Peter. When I was 18 I was driving large trucks and troop carriers filled with men and women in the Army. There are 2 sides to the age issue. The inappropriate conversations are inexcusable.
Lady Blake February 03, 2013 at 02:39 PM
What exactly was the innappropriate comment? Is there actual proof of it, did anyone besides the student hear it? And just how blown out of proportion did this get? In our hyper-vigilant world -and don't get me wrong, we need to be- is anyone over reacting toward this guy. One of the commenters above said her daughter "hates" him. Extreme comment from yet another student. Really? Hates him? Teens can at times 'embellish and overstate' things. If it is not criminal and just something he should have used better sense before saying, as Steeler Fan said, apologize and move on. Bet it never happens again after this castigation of his character.
Olivia Benson February 03, 2013 at 06:05 PM
From what I have heard, this child was grilled by the assistant superintendent, and the police at various points for 3 days.. and was not allowed to have a parent present. I'm thinking that's not legal at all. I can understand them wanting to get rid of this guy, but blown out of proportion, I'd have to say so. As to the comment, No one seems to know. As for the students "hating" the driver, that doesn't seem too uncommon... But, same token, I think that the age they are hiring drivers is WAY too young. Most places that hire commercially will not touch you until you are at least 23. 18 is way too young...As was stated, there are seniors that are 18. How can you possibly discipline when needed when you are one of them? From what I gather, the pay at the buses is horrible, and hence why the 18. Its the we will take anyone we can get that has a pulse mentality, and push them through training.
james hollerbrock February 03, 2013 at 06:54 PM
yes, i agree with all of you 18 is to young to be driving a school bus. But on the other hand, shouldnt the bus company be held accountable also for this? They hire the kids this young. When you have 18-20 yr old's driving buses, and the kids they are hauling at the same age, There is going to be inappropriate comments and remarks made, it is in there nature. of course i am not defending the driver, he/she should know better what can and cant be addressed with students. and if the district did question a student without parents or legal presence then the district should be held accountable also for violating a students legal rights. The district is not above the laws. But hey its Seneca Valley, they can do what they want. I have known a few drivers that have tried to go beyond their jobs and help children on their buses that have bad home lifes and the drivers try to make it better for them by being there to listen and help them, but because they are not to worry about a students home life they get fired for doing the right thing. i for one, would love for my kids driver to take a part in their lives if they where having problems and needed someone that they trust and can go to when a parent or parents does not care. We do not know what the comments or remarks where, so can not judge someone just based on what someone thinks they over hear, and who knows maybe the friend took it out of context what he did hear. We where not there...
james hollerbrock February 03, 2013 at 07:31 PM
Olivia, I do not think SV would make very good bus owners. If they can't even support drivers that care about their students. And yes I would be irate to if anyone questioned my son or daughter with out me or legal presence (aka a lawyer) not no police officer. Maybe the school board should hold a public hearing on this matter and address the asst. superintendent and the superintendent. Lets see what they have to say for them selves in front of the public, Where anyone can ask questions and voice there comments
CH February 04, 2013 at 04:51 AM
James, did you read the article? Quote: "Seilhamer said the student saw the driver outside school grounds in a social tetting during the district’s holiday break in late December and early January. The driver, who did not have the student on his bus route, then made comments to the student about his life that Seilhamer described as inappropriate for an adult to discuss with a juvenile. The conversation did not include any sort of solicitation, Seilhamer said" So James, you think the bus company is now responsible for everything every driver does on their own time? Really?? Outside school grounds. During school break. The student doesn't even ride this guys bus. Ya know, once I had a postal employee say something to me at a ball game that made me angry. He wasn't working at the time, but by your theory, the postal service should be responsible for that and fire the guy, right? The rest of your post is most reasonable, but dang that second sentence makes credibility a little weak IMO..
james hollerbrock February 04, 2013 at 05:16 AM
yes CH, i did read the article. the district brought the bus company into this. For one I really think since it happened outside of school control. The district should not even be involved in the matters, it has no baring in this at all. the police, driver and students parents should only be. The district should have told the police that we have no authority over this since it did not happen on school property. and waited for the police outcome before bringing the bus company into this. SV needs to understand once a student leaves their property they have no authority what goes on outside their property. It is for the police to handle it. The district tarnished somebody with out waiting for all the facts and investigation to conclude. Before this even went to the media it should have waited for the outcome, then made a statement.
james hollerbrock February 04, 2013 at 05:39 AM
And one other point. If I was the parent(s) I would be going to the school, to find out why they questioned my child when it happened off school grounds. The child should have never been questioned by the district. That would be like questioning your child for something that you did in your own house or own property and the neighbor or a bystander told the school. Would you want your child questioned by the school at length? or handled by law enforcement ?
CH February 05, 2013 at 02:38 PM
james, I think we are aligned other than the one comment, to which I understand your follow-up response.
Ishi February 05, 2013 at 09:06 PM
I was 18 Years old when I first started driving a school bus and I was fine, mature and responsible. Don't discriminate age! I drove and acted better than some of the other drivers out there! People shouldn't judge someone if they don't know them! Don't judge a book by its cover! I couldn't tell you how many people driving their normal cars can't drive! Do half of you realize what it takes to get a cdl license and not only that but you HAVE to be re certified after 4 years! And I couldn't tell you how many idiots are driving normal cars out there- they shouldn't have their licenses but nothing is done about them! I am not saying all 18 year olds are capable of driving a school bus. There is a lot to it and people DO NOT realize it! But the fact is do not say that no one under a certain age should be driving because there are good drivers and good people out there!

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