A Texas school bus driver was caught bullying a crying child. The driver, who is identified as Ms. Pat, also encouraged other children to join the taunting. The disturbing scene was recorded on a video, which was captured by the bus’ security camera.
As reported by ABC News, the incident happened in late February or early March. In an official statement, Floresville ISD Superintendent Sherri Bays said the taunting was an isolated incident:
“… staff watched over 10 hours of video that covered a two week period. These videos showed students laughing, smiling and hugging the bus driver… As per the information received by the District, there was one singular incident that was clearly unprofessional and inappropriate conduct by the driver.”
Although the school bus driver was disciplined for the incident, she was not immediately dismissed.
Rosemary Alcorta’s children attend Floresville Elementary School. She said Ms. Pat’s behavior is inexcusable:
“There should be zero tolerance if that’s the way they deal with the kids at school — zero tolerance for bullying. It should not be tolerated at all with this bus driver.”
Following release of the video, the Floresville School District received stark criticism for their failure to dismiss the bus driver.
Bays said safety is her top priority. However, the school has a zero tolerance bullying policy. She said the school bus driver’s actions were “definitely not appropriate.” She also said Ms. Pat was “acting very childish and immature.”
Bays said she took several steps to ensure the children are safe and comfortable while rising the bus. KSAT News reports that Bays personally spoke with the students about reporting harassment:
“I personally boarded the bus… and spoke to students about the importance of reporting when anyone treats them or any of their friends badly and I stressed that it doesn’t matter who that person is, they should report it.”
In addition to speaking with the students, Bays said she held a mandatory meeting with all transportation staff. She said that the meeting included additional training on how to deal with difficult situations, including disciplinary issues.
The identity of the victim has not been revealed and it is unclear whether she or her parents reported the incident to the school. Although the school bus driver is no longer with the district, Bays said she is dedicated to preventing a similar incident in the future.
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