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DCPS backs school bus driver's record, parents want answers

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Updated: 6/04/2013 8:43 pm

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Duval County School District is responding to safety concerns some local parents have about a school bus driver.

Action News was first to tell you about Sylvia Carlton. She's a 7-year-old who is too scared to ride the school bus.

"It's a battle sometimes," said her mother, Jolene Carlton. "She'll hide her clothes, she hides her shoes. She doesn't want to get on the bus."

Sylvia went to the hospital after her school bus collided with a pickup truck last year. In fact, several students were injured.

Carlton won a settlement against the bus company after the February 2012 crash.

Action News discovered the driver of that bus, Pamela Newman, has been pulled over by JSO nearly 20 times stretching back more than a decade.

We obtained documents detailing stops for careless driving, running a red light, rolling through a stop sign, even speeding in a school zone.

Carlton tells Action News, since our first report aired Friday, she's heard from several parents upset this driver is still behind the wheel for the school district.

"A lot of frustration. I actually had a woman today break down who was like, 'I can't believe this. I let my child ride a bus when she was driving,'" said Carlton.

The school district says it certifies and recertifies its drivers every year using a database provided by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

Chief of Operations Paul Soares says the district is following policy that is mandated by the State Board of Education.

"If they commit accidents or violations and thus have their license suspended or revoked, then they would also lose their certification," said Soares.

Action News asked why Newman is still driving for the district. Soares said they've reviewed her performance twice this year and according to the DHSMV, she has a clean driving record.

"Say you received a ticket for some reason but later you go to court or it gets dismissed, that does not show up on your Highway and Safety and Motor Vehicles record," said Soares.

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Realchange - 6/5/2013 10:53 AM
0 Votes
They let police do worse now. You can't text and drive (NO I dont want ANYONE texting and driving) but police can. If the police driver causes an accident they do not suffer any consquences as its part their job now. SO they can cause an accident they do not suffer the same fate. How about the case where the school board decides a multiple repeat offender bully should be allowed back at school? We got protect the bully's right to an education at the cost of other childrens safety. As far as this story goes give the woman the benefit of the doubt. If she didn't cause the accident then quit trying to make her guilty of it. If she drives that bad then cleary she would not have been able to pass a school bus certification course. If you can present some testimony or evidence she caused the accident then I could change my mind. I have seen Idjuts pass school buses and commerical big trucks as well jump in front them and stop suddenly expecting the truck or bus to do the same. They are the ones that need to learn how to drive. Worse yet some like to pull out infront of an on comming bus or truck and go slow expecting them to slow down or stop. Try riding with a big rig or a bus driver for a day then say how bad driver this woman is.

JoC99 - 6/4/2013 11:21 PM
0 Votes
I am soooo angry with this! So these people are telling us that it's okay to go out and break all kinds of laws, as long as we get them dismissed then its okay! This makes me so sick to my stomach! KNOWING her background now I want to know if the school board people would put their own kids in her hands? I bet they will have second thoughts about it. I can tell you this, I have four kids that are in 3 different schools and NONE of my children will be put in the hands of the bus company! I will pray for those who are unaware of the people they are putting behind the wheel. Granted there are some honest people out there. And people that sincerely care about our kids. I don't disagree with that. But I do have troubles swallowing the fact that this woman is still being trusted with our kids!
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