Sheriff’s office to check on school-bus incident in Beach Park
By Jim Newton firstname.lastname@example.org September 21, 2013 11:42PM
Updated: November 22, 2013 3:25AM
The Lake County Sheriff’s office is checking into an Aug. 30 incident in which several Beach Park Middle School students were reportedly let off their bus during the middle of its route after school, leaving some students in tears.
Details of the incident are sketchy, but according to parents, school officials and a Lake County Sheriff’s report, the incident occurred after one of the students threw a water bottle out of the bus and it either struck or landed in another car.
Carol Cartwright, whose 11-year-old granddaughter was on the bus, said the girl told her the driver stopped for about 15 minutes and then told students to get off of the bus in an area she did not recognize.
Cartwright said she believes the students were let out near Beach Street, and that her granddaughter and a friend walked until they found her friend’s house. She said that the girls were very upset and her granddaughter was in tears when they arrived at the home.
“I would never even think of telling 30 kids of any grade to get off of a bus,” said Cartwright, a former school bus driver. She said it is a cardinal rule for drivers not to let children off of the bus anywhere except for assigned stops.
Cartwright said she and another parent from the district, both of whom live in Lakeview Mobile Homes in Beach Park, filed a police report with the sheriff’s department.
While Cartwright said she believes about 30 students left the bus before their stops, Sgt. Sara Balmes, media spokesperson for the sheriff’s office, said the officer who took the report was told about 20 students departed the bus.
Sheriff Mark Curran said Friday afternoon that his office is looking into the incident to determine whether any tickets or charges might be warranted.
Beach Park Middle School Principal Raymond Ruiz said he took the incident “very seriously,” although officials only received two calls on the incident, and that the school followed the correct protocol by contacting the Durham School Bus company to report the complaints.
“We informed the bus company because they are different from the middle school,” Ruiz said. “I know that they took disciplinary action. I think it’s been taken care of well, and I’m very confident nothing like this will occur (in the future).”
Durham manager Rita Maki said she had no comment on the issue.
School District Superintendent Dr. Robert DiVirgilio said he was told the bus company had contacted the parents involved and that the situation was explained.
Cartwright said that while the principal seemed very concerned when she called the school, she never received a satisfactory explanation from the bus company about what happened with her 11-year-old granddaughter. Cartwright lives with the girl and the girl’s mother.