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updated: 4/23/2013 7:47 PM

Dist. 15 bus driver resigns after alcohol detected

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A Palatine Township Elementary District 15 bus driver resigned in February after officials discovered alcohol in her system while she was on the job.

The 35-year-old Rolling Meadows woman's school bus permit was suspended for three years as a result, according to Dave Druker, Secretary of State Jesse White's press secretary.

District 15 Superintendent Scott Thompson confirmed that someone called the district to report "potentially unsafe" driving by the woman while she was driving students the morning of Feb. 15.

The driver, who received her school bus permit in 2009 and was hired by District 15 in September that same year, was taken to a Palatine clinic and screened for drugs and alcohol, Thompson said.

Tests showed her blood alcohol content was somewhere between 0.0 and 0.08, which is below the threshold for a someone driving a personal vehicle to be considered legally drunk. However, Illinois has a zero-tolerance alcohol policy when it comes to permits for bus drivers.

School bus drivers and others holding a commercial driver's license can be charged with driving under the influence if their blood alcohol content is at least 0.04, Druker said.

The Daily Herald isn't naming the woman because she wasn't criminally charged.

Thompson declined to provide further details about the woman, her routes or the events leading up to her resignation, saying the matter is a personnel issue.

District officials did not contact police in February. On Tuesday, Assistant Superintendent Jim Garwood called Palatine Deputy Police Chief Alan Stoeckel, who informed him that the district was under no obligation to contact the police department.

Stoeckel said he believes the district handled the situation appropriately, though police would have interceded in February had school officials called.

The district notified the secretary of state's office about the driver on Feb. 21, Druker said. The woman can reapply for the school bus permit after the three-year suspension.

"I believe that we will examine our protocol in the event something like this should occur again," Thompson said. "We may wish to respond on a case-by-case basis, based upon the circumstances of each situation."

The bus driver and District 15 Transportation Union President Carin Ulrich didn't respond to calls seeking comment.

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