Suspended Carroll bus driver to get route back

She says diverting bus for ill child led to action

February 28, 2002|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

Stella N. Tsourakis, the school bus driver suspended this week by the Carroll County school system, will return to her usual route Monday after missing a week for failing to follow her prescribed route while taking middle school children home recently and other infractions.

Tsourakis, who was reprimanded by school officials for leading her passengers in prayer after the terrorist attacks Sept. 11, said one reason she was suspended was for taking a sick child home before following the usual route from Shiloh Middle School near Hampstead.

Because the child was vomiting, she reversed course and headed south to his stop along Route 91, rather than beginning at the north end near Shiloh, she said.

In addition to not following her route, Tsourakis said officials discussed incidents in which she drove 5 mph over the speed limit; and pulled over at what they considered an unsafe spot on the shoulder to check whether all pupils had been dropped off.

The incidents were noted by school transportation officials monitoring her driving, which is done occasionally with drivers, and more so with new ones, they said.

Charles I. Ecker, the county's interim school superintendent, said again yesterday that he could not discuss Tsourakis' case, except to say, "It was not because of praying on the bus."

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