The Stupidity Continues

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

Mother criminally charged for illegally boarding a school bus . . . because she thought her kid was dying.

Other kids were standing over the kindergartner’s assigned seat, yelling that Xander was slumped over.

“Help, he’s not moving,” she recalled during a recent court hearing. “We can’t wake him up.”

So she ran to the bus, up the steps and to the landing. The driver told her she couldn’t get on the bus. It’s against the law.

Keener kept going. “My focus was on my son,” she told a judge.

What happened on that bus Dec. 15 has earned Keener a misdemeanor charge of unlawfully entering a school bus. She’s now awaiting trial in Perry County Court.

The bus company remembers the story a little differently, and reported the incident — as they are required by law — to the state police because the driver asked Keener to leave the bus and she refused.

They say no one was screaming ‘help,’ that Xander was sleeping, like he had before and the driver wasn’t given enough time to handle the situation herself.

“Everyone’s focused on, he wasn’t really sick,” said Keener’s attorney Jeffrey B. Engle. “How do you know that? He could be choking on a Jolly Rancher. I can hop a fence to save someone who is drowning, even if it says ‘Keep Out’ if the harm sought to be avoided is greater than the possible violation of the crime.”

Keener faces up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine. The prosecutor says the bus company urged him to press charges. The bus company denies that. But here’s the best line by the idiot prosecutor:

“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.”

He’s right. I mean, you let this one mother who thought her kid was dying duck the law, and the next you thing you know, sex offenders will be coaching their kids to fake choking and heart attacks, so they can board buses full of children under the guise of an emergency, and then, and then . . . and then, what? . . . quickly molest all the children before anyone notices?

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73 Responses to “The Stupidity Continues”

  1. #1 |  zendingo | 

    why do you hate the children…. sorry it had be posted

  2. #2 |  zendingo | 

    err, had to be

  3. #3 |  Nick42 | 

    Why is it even illegal for a parent to be on a bus?

  4. #4 |  Reggie Hubbard | 

    There’s a great line in Caddyshack from Judge Smails that seems to sum up the attitude of all these prosecutors: “I’ve sent boys younger than you to electric chair. Didn’t want to do it, but felt I owed it to them”"

  5. #5 |  rapscallion | 

    i) Not allowing parents on the buses is a horrible, stupid law.

    ii) “The prosecutor says the bus company urged him to press charges.”

    Poor prosecutor. He didn’t want to press charges, but supremely powerful bus company forced it on him. He really had no choice.

  6. #6 |  Jonathan | 

    rapscallion is right. The real victim here is the prosecutor.

    Radley, where’s your heart?

  7. #7 |  Mattocracy | 

    Obviously, this prosecutor hates mothers.

  8. #8 |  Highway | 

    Why is it even illegal for a parent to be on a bus?

    OMG CHILD MOLESTERS EVERYWHERE!!!!!!!

    We must have suspicion of all adults!

  9. #9 |  SJE | 

    Seriously, WTF? I hope that Pennsylvania judges can sanction prosecutors for bringing such stupid cases.

    OT: if the US Govt is running out of money, why doesnt Obama immediately pardon everyone there for possession? Commute the sentences of everyone in jail for other non-violent drug offenses and those there for IRS related offenses.

    It is entirely within his constitutional rights, it saves us money. The perennial fear that one of those commuted would commit a crime can be blamed on the Congress for dicking around and the most serious offenses only get commutation. The Dems should be pleased for clemency. The right can’t complain if you are releasing people who don’t pay their taxes.

  10. #10 |  Bünzli | 

    You really should name the prosecutors in cases like this. These people should be shamed as publically as possible.
    You really have to wonder how retards like that make it through law school!

  11. #11 |  SamK | 

    I’m going to keep my comment on this one to:

    Jebus, that’s fucking stupid…

  12. #12 |  ClubMedSux | 

    I mean, you let this one mother who thought her kid was dying duck the law, and the next you thing you know, sex offenders will be coaching their kids to fake choking and heart attacks, so they can board buses full of children under the guise of an emergency, and then, and then . . . and then, what? . . . quickly molest all the children before anyone notices?

    You mean that won’t work? Well, shit, I guess it’s back to the drawing board for me.

  13. #13 |  qwints | 

    Obama can only pardon people for federal crimes. Most people convicted of non-violent state offenses are in state prison for violating state law.

  14. #14 |  JSL | 

    “and then, what? . . . quickly molest all the children before anyone notices?”

    Hey, you never know, that sex offender/parent/barney the dinosaur might be the Flash in a trenchcoat disguise.

  15. #15 |  Acertainflorentine | 

    Does the prosecutor’s quote also mean that should a sex offender’s child actually get sick or choke on something on the bus, the child should be left to die? I mean if the worst incarnation of this story is that a sex offender may enter the bus, then I guess sex offender jr is in trouble.

  16. #16 |  Aresen | 

    “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.”

    So, every parent is now a potential probable sex offender.

    I am unsure if this guy is paranoid or merely pandering to paranoids.

  17. #17 |  Kafka du Jour | Man Are We Screwed | 

    [...] arrested and charged for getting on school bus when she thought her son was dying. The absurdity will continue. Share this: This entry was posted in F.N. Kafka and tagged arrest, F.N. Kafka, [...]

  18. #18 |  Andrew S. | 

    So, every parent is now a potential probable sex offender.

    FTFY

    I am unsure if this guy is paranoid or merely pandering to paranoids.

    Can’t it be both?

  19. #19 |  Wiregeek | 

    #15:

    Don’t be silly, sex offenders don’t have children, they aren’t people.

  20. #20 |  Pinandpuller | 

    But did she blatantly jaywalk before entering the bus?

  21. #21 |  Chris in AL | 

    Police and DA’s are just this ignorant. There is really little hope they will change. What has to change is juries. The DA should not be pressing charges because he knows he can’t win the case. That no jury would ever convict a mother in this scenario. Unfortunately, juries are not educated about the powers they have.

  22. #22 |  Mannie | 

    The old dieing child trick, and I fell for it! {Faking Maxwell Smart accent]

    The persecutor [sic] should be hanged. The bus driver should be flogged. The bus company should be sued out of business.

  23. #23 |  Ariel | 

    “I am unsure if this guy is paranoid or merely pandering to paranoids.”

    #16, Yes, but in this case, like so many others, paranoid = voters. Really, you’d think the medical establishment would find a drug for the authoritarians in our society ( yeah, I score as one too, but I’d be first in line just to lessening my shame. Damn psych tests).

  24. #24 |  JS | 

    Highway “OMG CHILD MOLESTERS EVERYWHERE!!!!!!!

    We must have suspicion of all adults!”

    Agreed. Sadly, I think it’s time for the government to just take all children away from parents. It’s really in everybody’s best interest.

  25. #25 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    There are a lot of stories on TA that produce rage, but the ones where the state demands parents submit to their authority while their (parents) children are in danger are the most rage-ful. Partly because there is a real possibility that this situation will happen with me and my inner Hulk will unleash some smash on their ass.

  26. #26 |  James J.B. | 

    I am an attorney andi wasn’t aware of that charge.

    Maybe i am just a prick – but this would start a war – I spend thousands against the da’s next election – I’d file open records requests against the school district and the bus company – then hire an accountant to find something- i’d find something – heck maybe the bus driver has a bad habit or two that needs to see the light of day.

  27. #27 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Obama can only pardon people for federal crimes. Most people convicted of non-violent state offenses are in state prison for violating state law.

    If a person with enough money or connections gets in favor with the President, he can pardon whoever he wants. Have we not learned yet that the President can do whatever, whenever, whoever he wants? The President is only powerless to act when the act in question doesn’t directly benefit the state (like stop harassing gays or dope smokers in CA).

  28. #28 |  James J.B. | 

    Amen boyd – I tend to be a say “sorry” rather than ask if I can save my children

    These people are absolute dicks.

  29. #29 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Maybe i am just a prick – but this would start a war – I spend thousands against the da’s next election – I’d file open records requests against the school district and the bus company – then hire an accountant to find something- i’d find something – heck maybe the bus driver has a bad habit or two that needs to see the light of day.

    No, no, no. The DA, school board, and bus company just need to be reasoned with in a sane and thoughtful matter.

  30. #30 |  DPirate | 

    [quote]The prosecutor says the bus company urged him to press charges.[/quote]

    The prosecutor says “I am a spineless toad ready to kiss ass for business and keep my boot on the neck of any poor person you like. I’m running for governor, someday.”

  31. #31 |  Z | 

    Wow if the mom walks this is gonna give ideas to child molesters EVERYWHERE: “Here, have a piece of candy.” “Here, have a piece of candy.” “Here….” And next thing you know, we will have a reality show: “The fastest molester”. People will be holding speed molesting events, sponsored by candy companies, at bus stops.

    Geez, I really don’t know where satire begins these days.

  32. #32 |  Ron | 

    Gotta love the last line in the article…

    “I just don’t seen 12 people convicting this woman.”

  33. #33 |  Mark Z. | 

    So under Caylee’s Law, is it a defense that you thought your missing child was on a school bus and had no way to check?

  34. #34 |  H. Rearden | 

    Using my lightweight and nearly indestructible metal, I will design a comfortable and stylish suit of armor that will protect the wearer from those pesky pedophiles. They’re everywhere, you know. It will be the must-have back-to-school item.

  35. #35 |  John C. Randolph | 

    So, apparently the “minimum IQ requirement for prosecutors” bill didn’t make it out of committee?

    -jcr

  36. #36 |  John C. Randolph | 

    Not allowing parents on the buses is a horrible, stupid law.

    Why on earth would any parent allow their child to go somewhere that the parents are not permitted to go?

    -jcr

  37. #37 |  roy | 

    What do you do when a … sex offender wants to get on the bus and get his kids off?

    Wipe down the seats?

  38. #38 |  Dan | 

    Some additional detail and facts from Tara’s attorney here:

    http://www.shafferenglecriminalblog.com/2011/07/unlawful-entry-onto-a-school-bus.shtml

  39. #39 |  Bernard | 

    I think the prosecutor is right here. All laws should be framed in terms of what a sex offender might do.

    Administering CPR?

    - ‘I was disgusted when I realised that the man who saved my life might have got some sick pleasure out of it… at one point I think I felt some tongue.’

    Helping old ladies cross the road?

    - ‘When granny mentioned that the lady squeezed her hand I wanted to get the guns out. How dare someone who might be a sex offender take advantage of her frailty for their sick pleasure’

    Sitting down?

    - ‘I just worry about what that poor chair was going through. No amount of counselling will get it talking about this.’

    All of these things should be banned, and it’s really New York you should blame. Without gay marriage sex offenders wouldn’t exist.

  40. #40 |  DocHoliday916 | 

    What is the name of this prosecutor? e-mail address? phone number? This Southbound end of a Northbound horse needs some visibility.

  41. #41 |  DocHoliday916 | 

    From pennlive.com:

    “Perry County District Attorney Charles F. Chenot III — who initially said this was one of those situations that could go either way — said he changed his mind after a conversation with Pamala Schaeffer, the assistant to Dennis Dum. Dum’s Bus Service is contracted by West Perry Schools to transport all district children to school each day.

    “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,” Chenot said. “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.”

    So we have two horse’s asses here: Prosecutor Charles F. Chenot III and Pamela Schaeffer.

  42. #42 |  Kristen | 

    …and Dennis Dum. That’s the perfect name for this story.

  43. #43 |  Discord | 

    Once again, reality is stranger than South Park.

  44. #44 |  A Challenge to Law-Abiders — The League of Ordinary Gentlemen | 

    [...] Via Radley Balko: Other kids were standing over the kindergartner’s assigned seat, yelling that Xander was slumped over. [...]

  45. #45 |  Marty | 

    bad laws really stretch for justification. ‘child molesters’?!! citing the bus driver’s minor qualifications to handle an emergency, over a parent’s- a parent who is a true professional…

    this is another perfect example of the unintended consequences of too many laws. the bus company could make a policy ‘any parent who enters this bus after the driver instructs them otherwise, forfeits their child’s bus riding privilege.’

    public schools/buses/and everything affiliated can kiss my ass.

  46. #46 |  Cyto | 

    You guys should lay off the bus driver and the bus company. Everyone wants a little authority. This was their only power in the world – “I get to decide if you can come on the bus”. It isn’t a very good power. It isn’t even terribly useful. But dammint, it was theirs! Of course they are going to protect it tooth and nail.

  47. #47 |  Bad Medicine | 

    #19 Wiregeek, I’m with you. We spend so much time and effort to dehumanize sex offenders, catalog them, track them, bar them from society, I’m not sure they qualify as human anymore. I’m pretty sure they don’t have Constitutional rights anymore. Surely they can’t have kids either. If they can, maybe we need a new law…

  48. #48 |  Michael Pack | 

    Their is a law to cover all actions no matter how small.Drink a beer and drive home,jail,own a bar and allow smoking,jail,smoke pot at home ,jail,don’t keep your lawn in a approved manner,jail,don’t want to be molested to board a plane,jail,and on and on and on.

  49. #49 |  Cyto | 

    My last post was obviously tongue in cheek, but it turns out there really is a little more to the story. Further down the article you’ll find this:

    Wright denies the other kids were yelling, ‘help,’ but says Keener had a foul-mouthed exchange with the driver as she took her son from the bus.

    Keener denies using profanity.

    The next day Keener called Schaeffer and unsuccessfully lobbied for Wright to be fired. She was upset that the driver didn’t act quickly enough. The bus company said she never had the chance.

    So, it looks like mom freaked out a little bit and then couldn’t let it go. The bus company then got defensive and pulled out the “you broke the law” card.

    So I guess the lesson here is never be a dick, even for a few hours. You never know if the other side is going to escalate things and be even more of a dick.

    Everyone involved had the opportunity to de-escalate things at some point along the way, but instead chose the opposite route. And by everyone I mean the mom, bus driver, bus driver’s boss, police officer and prosecutor. If any one of them had made the right conciliatory move at the right time the whole thing goes away. So even though nobody involved thinks a criminal conviction is appropriate, that’s where we are headed. Now all we need is a jury and trial like the GA jaywalking case where they stick to the letter of the law instead of taking the totality of the circumstance into account and we’ll have a conviction that not one single person in the entire chain thinks is the correct outcome.

  50. #50 |  BamBam | 

    Portland, OR cop gets the double standard treatment for DUI
    http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2011/07/portland_officer_pleads_guilty.html

  51. #51 |  Acertainflorentine | 

    Something else about sex offenders, how many of them are of the “19 year old had sex with 17 year and mom got mad and filed charges” variety. Police and prosecutors use “sex offenders” as a way to abridge individual rights because when someone hears the term they instantly think of a guy who lures kids into the back of his van.

  52. #52 |  demize! | 

    You got your letter of the law and you got your spirit of the law. We have a pedantic, Pharaseeic fetish with an unflexible application of idiotic ORDINANCES, not even rising to the level of law being enforced. Like the asshole judge sentencing that guy to jail time for resisting arrest, when the cops we’re mistakenly in his home. This is one of the hallmarks of a police state. No common sense no flexibility for the plebeian class, nothing but leniency for the equestrian class. But if it’s fo da chillenz, for da chillenz…

  53. #53 |  JS | 

    demizel, good point about letter of the law vs spirit of the law. I have long thought that every potential cop ought to have to know the constitution and have to watch and have explained to them Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, which is all about that spirit vs letter distinction.

  54. #54 |  DensityDuck | 

    #48: Thanks for pointing that out. It seems that maybe–JUST MAYBE–if you treat people right they’ll go easy on you, whereas if you’re jerks to them then they’ll be jerks right back.

  55. #55 |  Marty | 

    #48 | Cyto

    well said.

  56. #56 |  FTP | 

    #52
    Or, perhaps, Billy Budd.

  57. #57 |  Joe | 

    This is why we absoultey need juries.

    God, what a lack of common sense. And when does a school bus company get to decide prosecutorial discretion?

  58. #58 |  Joe | 

    I am really starting to dig Have Gun–Will Travel on Netflix. It is cheesy and simplistic, but as TV shows go it has some pretty good writing (Gene Rodenberry, Sam Peckinpaw, etc.). I liked the episode of the young sheriff who decided to impose the Phillidelphia municipal code on some frontier Wyoming town. Paladin knew his dad so he goes to try to help out. Paladin has some great lines about laws that do not reflect the views of the community are tyrany and how if you exclude guns from law abiding folks, only criminals will have guns.

    Anyway, this story reminded me of that.

  59. #59 |  James J.B. | 

    Cyto – disagree.

    The Mother was protecting her son. If some chomosome deficient, minimum wage bus driver tried to get in my way when I am saving my son, he’d be on his back. A little profanity would have been the least of his worries. I, too, would have been a bit steamed and as a taxpayer, would have called the bus company too. The driver was out of line.

    The dicks here are the bus company and the prosecutor. I would respond to their infractions as I said in post #26.

    Sorry. There is a good guy and a bad guy here. This one isn’t grey.

  60. #60 |  DensityDuck | 

    So let me get this straight.

    Helicopter moms addicted to paranoia force us to remove monkey bars, swings, and merry-go-rounds from playgrounds is *bad*. It’s an example of foolish people overreacting to perceived dangers and making things worse for everyone.

    But moms who panic at the sight of their child asleep, shove their way into a crowded schoolbus at their first chance, scream curses at the driver, rush down the aisle, grab the kid and drag him off the bus…that’s *okay*, because hey, the kid might have been in trouble. And trying to get the bus driver fired afterwards, well, that’s okay too, because hey! Might have been in trouble! Lying about it in court afterwards, making stuff up, well, y’know, might have been in trouble! Extremism in the defense of your child is no vice, right?

  61. #61 |  Thanks For The Nut Punch Radley | Hoogly Boogly | 

    [...] at The Agitator you’ll find this little gem where a mother was charged with a misdemeanor for illegally boarding a school bus because she [...]

  62. #62 |  GaryM | 

    This is a familiar pattern. Wave some boogyman like “terrorists” and “sex offenders,” to justify grabbing tighter and tighter control over people. There isn’t even a comprehensible purpose to it, just power for its own sake.

  63. #63 |  Goober | 

    You are expected to allow some barely above minimum wage state lackey to save your choking son now or else you will go to jail if you step in. Seriously?

    I guess i will be in jail soon if wanting to protect my daughter is a crime.

  64. #64 |  John | 

    The jury needs to tell both the judge and the DA that they will not find this person guilty of any crime — I suggest they do so at the end of the trial with a NOT GUILTY verdict!

    Then they should charge the arresting officer with dereliction of duty and tell him/her to go find some real criminals.

  65. #65 |  primus | 

    Actually, they should find the DA guilty of wasting the court’s time, which I believe is a no-no for lawyers.

  66. #66 |  JS | 

    Yea that’s another good one FTP!

  67. #67 |  Monica | 

    The prosecutor is a fucking retard. I want to know who it is so I can send a campaign donation to anyone who will take it on.

  68. #68 |  Kristen | 

    The prosecutor is a fucking retard. I want to know who it is so I can send a campaign donation to anyone who will take it on.

    The information you seek is right here in the comments.

  69. #69 |  pam | 

    what if the sex offender saved the child from choking would he/she still be a danger to society?

  70. #70 |  pam | 

    okay, so the parent signs a permission slip for the child to be on the bus but the parent doesn’t have permission to be on the bus. Right ??

  71. #71 |  David | 

    Pam,

    That wounds depend on how he applied the Heimlich.

  72. #72 |  ross | 

    Why don’t you name (and shame) the prosecutor in question (ideally with phone number, email, and office address disclosure)?

  73. #73 |  Robert | 

    Dum vs. Keener — does it get any better than that?

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