Last December Tara Keener did what most any mother would do when she thought her 5-year-old son was in trouble: She raced to help him. Only because it was onto a school bus that she raced, she now faces criminal charges that could potentially land her a year in jail, just for trying to save her son.
The emergency room nurse was walking down her driveway when she saw her son, Xander, slumped over in his seat and other children crowding around him. She says the children were yelling, “Help, he’s not moving. We can’t wake him up.”
When she attempted to board the bus, the driver informed her it was illegal, which is news to me, and did nothing to stop Keener from going to help her son. Wouldn't you?
Fortunately, little Xander was just in a deep sleep, but there are plenty of things that could have been wrong to cause him to appear so despondent -- choking, a concussion, or plenty of other unthinkable things. Despite her good and totally understandable intentions, the driver reported Keener to police. She was charged with unlawfully entering a school bus and is currently awaiting trial. While it's a third-degree misdemeanor, it can come with a penalty of $2,500 and a year in jail.
Ridiculous, right? Not so. Perry County District Attorney Charles F. Chenot III told The Patriot-News:
The bus company’s main point is, we can’t let one person do this because pretty soon you’ll have all kinds of parents on there. Most parents aren’t a problem, but what do you do when a ... sex offender wants to get on the bus and get his kids off? We need to have that protection in place.
Protection, yes, but a little common sense would be nice too instead of blanket policies and rules that take none into account. Hopefully a jury will see the ludicrous nature of this "offense" and realize Keener was just acting like a protective mother. I'd like to say I can't imagine them doing anything else, but I also could have never imagined that someone would be charged just for trying to save her son.
Did you know it was illegal to board a school bus? Do you think this mother should be punished?
Image via Cast a Line/Flickr