A Staunton City Schools bus driver has been arrested after police say she had a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old student.
Paula Tomlin faces seven felony charges of indecent liberties with a child in a custodial relationship. Investigators say she and the teen had sexual relations numerous times during the past month.
Staunton Investigator Jeff Hylton says, "Both parties admitted that it was a sexually active relationship although they did maintain that they were in love and considered themselves to be boyfriend and girlfriend."
Dr. Steven Nichols, the superintendent of Staunton schools, says he was tipped off about the relationship.
Once police started investigating, they found sexually-explicit text messages.
Nichols says, although the teen was a student at Genesis Alternative School, he took a bus to R.E. Lee High School, where he was to be taken home by Tomlin. However, that didn't always happen.
Nichols says, "They would finish the route, she would park the bus and then they would leave in her vehicle."
Parents of Staunton students say news of the relationship is shocking because they trust the bus drivers to bring the kids home safely.
Parent Thomas Shields says, "I coach kids around here and I can't believe that somebody is responsible for taking care of our kids is doing something like that."
Nichols maintains the students are and will be safe.
He says, "We are going to make every child in this system as safe as we possibly can and when someone does something such as what happens here, they are going to bear the full brunt of responsibility."
Nichols does say Tomlin did pass a background check when she was hired, and she has no other incidents like this on her record. Tomlin resigned from her position with the school district as soon as she heard she was being investigated about the relationship.