No charges for driver, aide accused of leaving student on bus

- Gale Brown and Gwendolyn Simmons are breathing a sigh of relief. The state just decided not to prosecute them criminally.

"I am just glad it's over," Simmons told FOX 13.

Polk Sheriff Grady Judd wanted them charged with felony child neglect after Brown, a Polk school bus driver, and Simmons, an attendant, left a 13-year-old challenged boy on a bus twice in one week.

"It's like, what are you thinking? We know you're thinking nothing'" Judd said at a press conference after the women were arrested in March.

After their run, the women dropped off the bus at a depot in Lake Wales. Surveillance video shows them getting off the bus. Later the boy, who was crouched down on one of the seats either hiding or sleeping, pops up and climbs out a window. The second time it happened, just days later, he left through a door. 

After they were arrested, the women admitted that they asked a student to disarm a system meant to prevent things like this from happening.  When the bus engine is shut off, an alarm sounds. Someone has to walk to the back of the bus to shut it off.

After reviewing the case, the state attorney's office wrote in a court document, "The facts of the case, while concerning, do not rise to the level of felony neglect on a child based on Florida case law."

Simmons' husband says his wife, who had never been in jail before, has been unnecessarily dragged through the mud.

"He killed her character by putting it on TV," said Nathaniel Simmons. "Millions of people looking at her like she is a criminal or something."

Simmons wants an apology from the Polk Sheriff's Office.

Judd had no comment on this story.

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