School Bus Aide Charged with Battery For Choking Student

According to recent reports, a school bus aide has been charged with two counts of aggravated battery to a child, which are both felonies, after an incident outside Parker Junior High School in Flossmoor in April.

Jessica D. Roberts, 36, of Calumet Park, was charged with the crimes after she was arrested at her home on May 11, according to Flossmoor Deputy Police Chief Tod Kamleiter.

As indicated by Flossmoor School District 161 Superintendent Dana Smith, Roberts and a second employee of Paige Bus Enterprises have not worked on buses that serve the district since the incident.

Roberts is accused of choking an 11-year student on the bus as it arrived at Parker on the morning of April 6. As indicated by the police report, the child spilled food on the bus and declined to tidy it up, prompting to a confrontation when the bus got to the school.

The incident was reported to the police by officials of Flossmoor School District 161. The child needed no medical attention, Kamleiter said.

The whole incident was caught on surveillance footage on the bus, Smith said. Paige Bus supplies transportation services to District 161.

“When we first learned of the incident involving Ms. Roberts, we immediately worked to ensure a safe environment for our students and we demanded that both of the Paige Bus employees involved in this incident be immediately removed from District 161 bus routes,” Smith said in a statement released to Parker parents after the incident. (www.hfchronicle.com)

Smith said that Paige Bus told the district that Roberts and the other employee have not worked on District 161 since the alleged incident.

The district reached out to the Flossmoor police and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services “as soon as the student was secure and his family was contacted.” (www.hfchronicle.com)

“We take our students’ safety very seriously and we will not stand for any employee losing control with a student, including the employee of a contractor,” Smith said. ”We encourage any student, parent, or staff member who becomes aware of unsafe actions by an employee, to bring their concerns to an administrator or proper authority for prompt investigation.” (www.hfchronicle.com)

A Cook County associate judge Saturday set Roberts’ bail at $3,000 and she was released from custody after posting $300. As a condition of her bail, she is not permitted to have any contact with the victim or any other children under the age of 18, aside from her own three children, according to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office.

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