An Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, school bus driver faces serious charges after allegedly using duct tape to restrain a 10-year-old student while on the way to an elementary school back in March.
Juliet Pratt, 54, has been charged with unlawful restraint, false imprisonment, endangering the welfare of a child and assault.
Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer announced the charges against Pratt in a press release on Tuesday.
“Bus drivers are entrusted with enormous responsibility every time they get behind the wheel,” the DA said. “In addition to being safe drivers, we also expect them to treat the children in their care with dignity and respect. Using duct tape on a child who was already fully restrained in the vehicle’s harness was not only inexcusable, it was also dangerous.”
Stollsteimer explained that had there been an accident, the 10-year-old boy would not have been able to free himself.
On March 8, 2023, officers with the Upper Darby Police Department responded to Hillcrest Elementary School in Drexel Hill after reports of a 10-year-old getting assaulted by a bus driver.
An investigation involving the review of video surveillance showed Pratt allegedly used duct tape to restrain the student by wrapping it around his chest and ankles.
According to Stollsteimer, the student was already seated on the bus in a safety harness supplied by the district.
When the bus arrived at the school, Pratt used a seat belt cutter to remove the tape restraining the child, the DA noted, adding that the student was never seen trying to get out of his seat or move around the bus.
“There is simply no excuse for this conduct, which is why these charges have been filed,” Stollsteimer said.