BAYOU VISTA, La. — A substitute bus driver was arrested for texting while driving and will be dismissed from his duties pending an investigation by the school system.
Randy Paul, 32, of Shepard Lane in Franklin was arrested at 1:40 p.m. Tuesday for texting while operating a motor vehicle after a St. Mary Parish sheriff’s deputy responded to a complaint and obtained a photograph of Paul texting while driving, Sheriff Mark Hebert said.
Donald Aguillard, St. Mary Parish superintendent of schools, said Paul is a substitute driver covering the route for Roger Cannon (bus number 32) whose route is in the Bayou Vista area, serving Berwick schools.
Hebert said a complaint was made to his office regarding Paul texting while operating the school bus with several children on board. During the investigation, the deputy obtained the photograph, and Paul was questioned at his residence.
He was released on a summons to appear in court Dec. 12.
Aguillard said the school system has a policy in place limiting the use of cell phones by all bus drivers. They are to remain on at all times, but are never to be used for personal reasons whether for making a call or for a text.
“The purpose of having cellular telephones on school buses is to improve the safety of students and employees. The intended use of these phones on the buses is for emergency use, not personal use. Therefore, cellular telephones shall only be used in cases of an emergency affecting the safety of students and/or employees,” the school system policy states.
“In no case shall cellular telephones be used for personal use. The superintendent and/or transportation supervisor will determine consequences for misuse and/or mishandling of cellular telephones, which shall include disciplinary action up to and including termination,” the policy continues.
Texting behind the wheel is a primary offense in Louisiana, meaning a police officer can pull a driver over for the offense without having to witness any other violation.