In August 2007, a 63-year-old school bus driver in a suburb of Indianapolis left a 5-year-old child on the bus. The little girl slept for five hours before walking into school. She never expressed any fear and was fine. The driver was charged with Neglect of a Dependent, which is a Class D Felony. She was fired. Her license was revoked ending her long career. She was ordered to serve 100 days in jail (she was able to serve house arrest because she was the sole caretaker of her ailing parents) and was put on probation for an additional 445 days. She was also ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation and has to pay all fines and court costs.
In February 2005, an English teacher at Darlington School, a private school in Rome, Georgia, led an outdoor excursion during which he changed the course to one that required the kids to be in the ocean in kayaks and canoes. The only communication device was his personal cell phone, the water temperature was 58 degrees, numerous severe weather warnings had been issued, and he got not one parent’s permission. His decision killed two boys, Clay McKemie and Sean Wilkinson. Darlington’s attorneys showed up at the Florida church where families were awaiting word on the boys. Prosecutors decided not to prosecute.....
Two years later, Steve Hall’s teaching contract was not renewed (not because Darlington decided to do the right thing, but because parents demanded it). Still unable to find any friends his own age to play with, he went to work as the official Outdoor Recreation Coordinator for another private school in Utah called Wasatch Academy. He is still at Wasatch, and, just as he was at Darlington, is now advertised as an English teacher. In February, he is in the school’s Wasatch Wire newsletter’s “Faculty Spotlight” just in time for the school’s 2010 Family Weekend and the five-year anniversary of Clay and Sean’s deaths. LIVE link and PDF link.
In 2009, when asked about their interactions with Hall and told about his past, Wasatch kids shared their own experiences and asked some interesting questions.
“He makes vulgar remarks to us.”
“He left us to walk back from the watering hole by ourselves.”
“Hardy split his head open on a snowboarding trip.”
“We had to sign all sorts of papers saying we wouldn’t sue him if something went wrong.”
“The school wouldn’t let us go out with him if they knew this, would they?”
“There’s just no way Mr. Loftin knows about this. Does he?”
“This is horrible. I’m talking to a staffer now.”
Then, as quickly as they came, they left, refusing all contact. Can’t you just feel the intimidation by the adults at that school assembly?
Steve Hall is as happy and unaffected as a sociopathic pig in mud (although, I’d bet a year’s salary that he wrote the article himself – he tends to do that, because, after all, it’s the only way to effectively get across how truly glorious he is).
Wasatch Academy leadership had better be greasing their palms. In addition to being fully aware of Hall’s past, there is actually a school requirement that every student participate in three outdoor activities each year. So, not only do they encourage the students to be subjected to Steve Hall, they require it. No Liability Release Form or insurance plan will save them when his actions cause another kid’s death.
Judith Van Meter has about 100 days left on her probation, legal bills she will never be able to pay and a permanent felony on her record.
The 5-year-old girl on the bus now rides to second grade in her parents’ cars, because they were given access to information enabling them to decide what’s best for their child.
If only Clay and Sean’s parents, and every other parent of a child on that trip in 2005, were given the same opportunity.