Sheriff: Bus driver drove students to house and staged fight between students in front yard

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. - A bus driver in Polk County has been arrested and charged with Child Abuse.

Patrice Sanders, 29, of 1133 Enterprise Street in Lakeland, was arrested Thursday night.

According to Sheriff Grady Judd, the bus driver drove a bus load of middle and high school aged children to her house on Thursday and staged a fight between two students in her front yard.

"There are some things in life you just can't believe," explained Sheriff Judd.

Sanders picks up kids from three Bartow Schools-Gause Academy, Summerlin Academy and Bartow High School--as part of her normal duties.

Deputies say when Sanders heard two young females, a 13-year-old and a 16-year-old, verbally arguing on the bus she made the statement, 'This is going to be handled today and they just need to fight.'

According to a press release, Sanders immediately drove to her home, ordered all the kids off the bus and told the two teens girls that she would give them Vaseline or baby oil to put on their faces so their faces wouldn't get scratched during the fight.

The 13-year-old apparently told Sanders she did not want to fight.

The girl physically fought in Sanders' front yard, as witnessed by Sanders and all of the other children who had gotten off the bus, according to deputies.

At least one child who witnessed the fight took cell phone video.

Deputies say Sanders did not try to stop the fight but stood and watched.  The girls fought until they decided to quit.  That is when deputies say Sanders ordered all these kids back on to the bus.

"Girl what were you thinking?" Sheriff Judd said while holding up Sanders' mugshot.

Once back on the road, the girls began fighting again.  Deputies said Sanders pulled over the bus to watch the fight and then warned students that 'what happens on the bus stays on the bus.'

The driver has been charged with Child Abuse, Child Neglect, False Imprisonment, and Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor.  Sheriff Judd said he has consulted with the state's attorney and is considering charges of false imprisonment.

Sanders has worked as a school bus driver for the past eight months.  The school board did terminate her position Friday.

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