First-Degree Murder After Track Practice

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Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

I hope everyone who celebrates Thanksgiving had a joyous holiday. My hubby and I had a marvelous time visit our daughter and her family in Missouri (we live in California).

This week, you may have heard four of the five high school boys who made the news in November 2018, for the alleged hazing incident where boys were sexually assaulted in the locker room are being charged as adults. I’m sure the families of these boys were shocked by the allegation and now frightened their children may go to prison.

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Extortion And Bribery In School Transportation

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Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

www.robinlyons.comOn the heels of Black Friday—the biggest shopping/spending day of the year—I thought school employee extortion, and bribery might be fitting.

BLOG POST #168: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific criminal case involving a ring of seven transportation employees.

Who’s Minding The Shop?

The employees worked for the city’s department of education (DOE), special education transportation division. Their jobs included setting the specifications for bus routes, overseeing bus routing bids from bus companies, securing transportation for field trips, and addressing vehicle safety issues found through random safety inspections.

Shameful Greed

For more than fifteen years, the seven employees established special education bus routes (on paper) that began earlier than necessary and ran long, the private bus companies were then able to charge more for their service and provided a kick-back to the employees.

During the same time-span, they funneled field trip transportation—worth hundreds of thousands of dollars—to certain bus companies in exchange for tens of thousands of dollars in cash payments.

The employees also collected payments in exchange for favorable treatment relating to school bus safety violations uncovered during inspections, and providing advance notice of safety inspections that were supposed to be unannounced.

Hard Time

Because the DOE received federal program funding, any time spent for their crimes would land them in federal prison.

All but one pleaded guilty to extortion and bribery charges and were sentenced to a range of four-to-thirty months in prison with probation after released.

The solo-employee who held out for a trial was found guilty of two counts of conspiracy; one count of extortion; and one count of receiving bribes. The judge sentenced him to fifteen months in prison in addition to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay restitution of more than $20,000.

At the time of their sentencing, the employees’ ages ranged between 53-70.

Commentary

After working in school transportation for 18-years, I’m passionate about school transportation and have strong opinions on the subject. School districts are mandated to have regular audits performed by outside agencies and all school districts I worked for did. However, I personally pointed out to an auditor—which fell on deaf ears—an area of vulnerability for fraud in the transportation department. They didn’t seem interested in tightening the procedures.

What are your thoughts about this case? Join the conversation on the website. We talk about the sensitive subject of crimes occurring at or connected to schools. Your relevant comments are always welcome on the Research Blog.

Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

Thanks for reading!

-Robin

All School Marshal Novels are available at Amazon US and Amazon UK.  Have you joined the club?  Find out more here:  Robin’s Reader Club

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The Teenager’s Escalating Behavior

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Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

If you listen to the mainstream news, it’s been a rough week. There was another school shooting. A North Carolina sophomore shot and killed a classmate.

When the school representative was interviewed, he said it started with bullying and escalated from there.

So far this year, in the U.S., there have been 22 school shootings resulting in 35 people killed—28 were students, and 77 people injured. That’s beyond sad.

It makes me wonder if our correctional system has more young people incarcerated than ever before. The case referenced in this post is part of the equation.

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The Bullied Student Who Persevered

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Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

As we’re nearing the end of October, Bullying Prevention month also winds to a close. Sadly, incidents of bullying remain on the rise.

BLOG POST #166: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific criminal case involving middle school boys.

Since the bullying, in this case, happened at the middle school level, here are some startling facts from the StopBullying.gov website about middle school bullying:

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Recording A Bully

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Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

I’ve said this before and will say over and over—schools aren’t equipped to stop bullying without cooperation from parents and possibly law enforcement. Teachers and principals aren’t police officers, bullying is hostile, it’s angry, and dealing with it is asking too much from an educator.

Many parents feel helpless and hopeless when it comes to dealing with their child’s bully. They expect the school can and should “nip it in the bud.” This case is a perfect example of how frustrated parents are about bullying.

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