Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Public safety

Polk County bus driver forced girls to fight, deputies say

When a Polk County school bus driver heard two girls arguing on her bus Thursday, she decided they should settle it with their fists, authorities said.

"This is going to be handled today and they just need to fight," Patrice Sanders said, according to Polk County sheriff's officials.

Sanders, 29, drove the two girls, a 13-year-old and a 16-year-old, and a busload of other children to her home at 1133 Enterprise St. in Lakeland.

There, officials say, she ordered all of the children off the bus and told the two girls she would give them Vaseline or baby oil to put on their faces so they wouldn't get scratched during the fight.

The 13-year-old told Sanders that she did not want to fight, authorities said.

Sanders went inside her house to try to find Vaseline or baby oil and couldn't find any, a report said. The girls then fought in Sanders' yard while she and the other children watched. At least one child recorded the bout on a cellphone video.

After the girls quit fighting, Sanders ordered all of the kids back onto the bus.

As she started to drive, the girls began fighting again. Sanders pulled the bus over and watched until they were done.

She also told kids on the bus not to tell anyone what had happened.

"What happens on the bus, stays on the bus," she told the children, according to an arrest report.

The 13-year-old's mother reported the incident to the Polk County Sheriff's Office. Her daughter was taken to the hospital to be examined, officials said. She did not have any serious injuries.

Sanders was arrested Thursday on charges of false imprisonment, child abuse, child neglect and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

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