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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Pinellas school bus driver may have hit student with bus, left the scene



A Pinellas County bus driver is slated to lose her job for:

  • Allegedly hitting a student with her bus
  • Leaving the scene
  • Waiting 30 minutes to tell anybody, and
  • Refusing to cooperate with a school system investigation.

Somehow, that's not all. Belinda Ivey, 40, is also in trouble for driving her school bus without the proper medical clearance to do so. Superintendent Michael Grego has recommended that the school board fire Ivey, which they'll likely do at a board meeting next week.

Here's what school investigators say went down on Feb. 4.

Ivey told a transportation dispatcher that she "may have hit a student that was running late," per a memo from Grego. It had been 30 minutes since the incident. Then, Ivey went AWOL. For an hour, the dispatcher tried to reach her but couldn't.

After the dispatcher finally reached Ivey, he told her to meet supervisors at the scene of the accident. Using the route sheet, supervisors identified the girl who Ivey said she may have hit. The girl "admitted" that she "jumped back, tripped and fall on her arm and was sore but okay."

The investigation also revealed that Ivey's commercial driving privileges had been put on medical hold Jan. 23, but that she continued to drive the bus without medical clearance. No other details were immediately available.

At her first meeting with the Office of Professional Standards, Ivey "turned her back to the OPS administrator and faced the door and otherwise refused to speak."

At the second meeting, Ivey asked to use the restroom. She never returned.

A supervisor had to drive Ivey to the third meeting to get her to show. She "covered her face with her hands, closed her eyes and refused to speak."

She passed a note to the administrator, reading "...The way that I saw (student's name) in the car that day she did look like she was in pain."

If Ivey requests an administrative hearing, she will be suspended without pay until the hearing ends. A phone number listed for Ivey was disconnected Wednesday.

[Last modified: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 11:21am]


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