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May 30, 2023

Upper Darby bus driver charged with duct taping 10-year-old to seat

Juliet Pratt, 54, of Clifton Heights, allegedly restrained the boy during a ride to his elementary school in March

Investigations Schools
Upper Darby Bus Driver Austin Pacheco/Unsplash

Juliet Pratt, 54, of Clifton Heights, allegedly duct-taped a boy to a seat on the school bus she drove for Upper Darby School District in March, Delaware County prosecutors say.

A bus driver for the Upper Darby School District allegedly used duct tape to restrain a 10-year-old boy in his seat during a ride to school in March, Delaware County prosecutors said.

Juliet Pratt, 54, of Clifton Heights, was charged Monday following an investigation into the March 8 incident, which involved a student at Hillcrest Elementary School in Drexel Hill.

Surveillance video from the bus allegedly showed Pratt had restrained the boy's ankles with duct tape and then used additional duct tape across the child's chest. She also placed duct tape on the buckles of the safety harness where the boy sat, police said.

The boy had not caused any kind of disturbance after he got onto the bus, investigators said. He got on the bus, took his seat and fastened his seat belt. And at no point did he get up from his seat and walk around the bus before Pratt allegedly restrained him with the duct tape

After arriving at the elementary school, Pratt allegedly cut the duct tape off the boy by using a seat belt cutter. The duct tape was found in a trash can on the bus, police said.

Pratt allegedly told police she had restrained the boy with duct tape on one other occasion, according to a criminal complaint.

Pratt is charged with unlawful restraint, false imprisonment, endangering the welfare of a child and assault.

"Had an accident occurred, this child would have been unable to free himself from the tape," District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer said. "There is simply no excuse for this conduct, which is why these charges have been filed."