Mom Faces Jail for Boarding School Bus to Save Son

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school busLast 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

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Wish2Be Wish2Be

Thats uneblieveable. I would fight that hard and ugly. No one is keeping me from my son if he is hurt.

ceciliam ceciliam

Okay, that is a little out of control. Obviously, the bus driver must have known who she was. Anyway, there is no way anyone woud have kept me from my son if I thought he was in danger.

2jsplus3 2jsplus3

that is bullcrap. I have gotten on the bus so many times that I can't count. I have run onto the bus to get something to my kid, I have ridden the bus with my kid on the first day of school ad had my ex meet me at the school to bring me home with all three of my kids on the first day. When my dd got let off on the wrong stop when she was in second grade the bus driver and I went stop to stop to find her. She had followed a freind off her stop.


Not allowing parents on the school bus is rediculous. Where is this a law? It isn't here in FL or in NC and NH either.


That said, NO LAW would EVER keep me from my child if they could be hurt or in trouble. NEVER. Shame on the person that created this law and shame on the people who are prosecuting this mom.

LoriA... LoriAnn87

Yes I know it's against the law and it say it right on the step of my son's bus but i'm sorry if my child was hurt I'm going to end the bus wheter the driver or law likes it or not because if my child is hurt i'm going to take care of him and get him the help he needs.

Pishyah Pishyah

A sex offender...  Getting his kids...  So much wrong with that.

Lynette Lynette

Neither the bus, nor the school system own my child.  I do not give up my rights to them by sending them to school.  If my children were public schooled and a situation like this happened you couldn't stop me from going to them, it is my right as their parent.


I homeschool my kids, so I have never had to deal with anything like this.

acrog... acrogodess

I didn't know it was against the law. Not sure if it is against the law in NYS. That said, if I thought either of my kids were in danger, laws couldn't keep me from them. My job as a mother is to keep them safe at all costs

Kassey Garfield

This is ridiculous! I don't think I even have words for how stupid this is... 


If the mom is facing charges for trying to help her son, she should seriously consider a counter-suit on the bus company (emotional damages/distress?). NO Mom would do any differently if her child was in potential danger... Well, maybe Casey Anthony. But no REAL parent.

081109 081109

I don't care how illegal it is, if my kid seemed in trouble on a bus you can bet I sure as hell would be on there in a heartbeat.  Yet another good reason why homeschooling is the better option.  I understand having rules against random people hopping a school bus for criminal reasons, but a mom worrying about her child?  That's just ridiculous and WRONG.

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