ORLANDO, Fla. — A school bus driver here was fired last week after the district she worked for accused her of pulling a special-needs student’s hair and pinning her in a seat for four minutes, Orlando Sentinel reports.
In the May incident, Orange County Public Schools bus driver Rosa Dalger exited her bus and boarded another stopped bus so she could help a driver with a student who was climbing over seats, according to the newspaper. A monitor stayed behind on Dalger’s bus. School employees told the other driver to call law enforcement. Police responded nearly one hour later and the student put an officer in a chokehold and punched him, Orlando Sentinel reports. The student was not injured in the incident.
School board members reviewed video footage from the bus and voted to fire Dalger. The district released audio from the recording, in which Dalger could be heard repeatedly shouting, “when you stop, I stop” at the student, according to the newspaper. Dalger said she did not pull the girl's hair or hold her down, and that her actions were necessary to prevent the student or other students from being hurt according to Orlando Sentinel.
Tonya Daley, a safety trainer who works with new drivers and monitors for the district, said she thought Dalger did a "phenomenal job" handling the situation and that "You must always take control of such behavior before physical harm occurs," according to the newspaper.
John Palmerini, the attorney for the school district, told Orlando Sentinel that Dalger had previously been suspended from the district five times, including after an incident last year in which she had a “profane exchange” with a student.
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