Updated September 30, 2022 - 4:55 pm
When school bus driver Vicente Linan pulled over for a second time on his way back from a Henderson public school, a girl grabbed the steering wheel and said she would drive.
The kids on his bus were out of control. They were standing up, climbing over seats, putting tape over the security camera, and pulling the emergency windows down.
These are just some of the details contained in newly released police reports outlining an Aug. 17 assault in which Linan was allegedly attacked by an irate mom who punched him four times, breaking his glasses.
It was one of two high-profile attacks on school bus drivers in the second week of the 2022-23 school year.
The mom, identified as Elizabeth Tanner, 37, was angry because the bus was an hour late in dropping off her child at the Siena Suites Hotel at 6555 Boulder Highway near East Russell Road, where they lived, according to Clark County School District Police reports.
Linan was late, he told school district police, because he had been forced to pull over three times on the route because the kids were essentially going wild on his bus.
Now, after dropping off the kids at the Siena Suites, three angry parents stormed the bus. Tanner was yelling and hit Linan in the face four times, police said. Another parent also took a swipe at Linan, but didn’t hit him.
Outside the bus, a man was yelling and making “threatening gun gestures with his hands,” according to the report.
The documents provide a glimpse into the challenges faced by Las Vegas Valley school bus drivers, whose pay, according to a spokesperson with the Clark County School District, starts at $22.74 an hour.
“CCSD (Clark County School District) has been proactive in working to increase safety for all students and employees,” said a statement from the district in response to questions about school bus driver safety. “That includes upgrades to the camera systems on all buses.”
Along with school districts nationwide, Clark County also has been working to address a driver shortage. Part of that challenge is working to make sure drivers feel safe, which is why the district’s nearly 2,000 buses have been undergoing a $6 million upgrade to their camera systems. By the spring, the district has said, all buses are expected to have the new camera systems installed, which includes a dashboard camera with a view of the outside of the bus, and four cameras looking inside the bus.
But what can be done about rowdy children whose behavior disrupts their school bus driver?
“The school bus is an extension of the classroom,” the district’s statement said. “Students are expected to follow the CCSD Pre-Kindergarten – 12 Student Code of Conduct while on the school bus. Any violations of the code of conduct can be reported to school administration for further action.”
In Linan’s case, when the investigating officer, Eric Schnaidt, met with Josh Stevens Elementary School principal Virginia Ratliff, he showed her the security footage from the bus. Ratliff recognized the woman who struck the driver several times as a parent of one of her students.
The parent was later identified as Tanner, police said.
Schnaidt tried to call Tanner on Aug. 18, the day after the alleged assault, and left a voicemail. Schnaidt wrote in the arrest report that she didn’t call him back. When he tried again to call her on the 19th, her phone was turned off. Calls were made and texts were sent to no avail.
By Aug. 31, school district police detectives had been doing surveillance on Tanner’s apartment at the Siena Suites. After officers saw a child come out of the apartment to go to the bus stop at 8:10 a.m., they went to knock on her door. They also knew from doing some surveillance outside the apartment in the days previous that a child too young for school lived there. But no adult was seen coming or going.
After knocking on the door, officers found that a man who was a registered sex offender had been babysitting Tanner’s children. The man, whose name was redacted from the police reports about the assault, was later arrested on a charge of failing to change his address within 48 hours.
Tanner was also arrested. She faces four charges of battery on a protected person, one count of burglary of a business and one count of burglary of a motor vehicle, according to court records.
Released on a bail of $10,000, records show, Tanner was ordered to stay out of trouble, to submit to electronic monitoring, and to not accompany her child to the bus stop.