Bus Driver’s Firing Shows Exorbitant Danger of ChildLine Tips

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Jun 16, 2022 | 0 Comments

The case of a fired Pittsburgh bus driver shows just how damaging a ChildLine report can be to a person's reputation. When we read stories like this, we must consider objectively: Is it fair to label this person as a child abuser?

The Bus Driver Appears to Have Neglected Their Professional Duties

Bus drivers have a duty to keep tabs on those that they transport. In this case, the driver clearly failed in that duty.

An elementary school student attending Pittsburgh's Beechwood school fell asleep while riding the bus, failing to disembark when the bus reached her stop. This led the student's parents to file a missing persons report, surely causing panic until the girl eventually emerged—several hours later, alone, at a bus garage on the outskirts of Pittsburgh.

This bus driver apparently failed to check the bus for passengers before parking it for the night. This failure put a young person and her parents in a dangerous, traumatic position that could have been avoided.

The driver deserved to be fired, and was fired, as the bus company explained in its policy. However, the bus company explained that it also filed a report with ChildLine related to the bus driver's behavior.

ChildLine Brands the Accused as an Abuser, and This Is Often Unjust

ChildLine, a 1-800 number funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS), is unambiguous in its purpose: To accept reported of child abuse. The subheader on the ChildLine website reads, “Suspect abuse? Report it! Call ChildLine at 1-800-932-0313.”

When someone is the subject of a ChildLine tip, their life can be forever altered. Because of the ChildLine tip, the bus driver who failed to detect the sleeping child on their bus may now face:

  • A formal investigation by one or more law enforcement agencies
  • Criminal charges
  • Fines, imprisonment, or other legal consequences
  • The possibility of being labeled a child abuser by the state of Pennsylvania

Once the state opens up the can of worms that is a ChildLine report, there is no telling how the case will unfold. Even if you agree that the bus driver fell far short of their duties, the accusation of child abuse hardly seems justifiable.

Call the Lento Law Firm to Protect Yourself From a ChildLine Report

Hopefully, the bus driver has retained competent legal representation. This is the only option for someone who has become the target of a ChildLine tip.

As well-intended as ChildLine is, it has become the default response for many people when they see a child put in any degree of danger. When someone simply makes a mistake—rather than engaging in true abuse—ChildLine presents a disproportionate response to the error.

Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm defends those facing ChildLine investigations. Call us today at 888-535-3686 or submit your case details online. We will develop a strategy for your defense and use our resources to clear your name.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania as well as in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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