A West Virginia sheriff’s deputy, who is also a part-time school bus driver, allegedly bullied an openly gay student on the bus, reportedly saying over the bus’ P.A. system that “fa***ts will burn in hell.”
As LGBTQ Nation reports, Robert Belt was dressed in his Clay County Sheriff’s Department uniform on September 5, when he worked his shift as a bus driver for Clay County Schools. One of the passengers on the bus was an openly gay student, whose name, age, and grade level have not been released as of this writing. For reasons that are not clear, Belt allegedly took the opportunity to use the bus’ P.A. system to announce his feelings about homosexuality.
“No fa***t activity will be permitted on this bus. In my Bible it states that ‘fa***ts will burn in Hell,’ and I will not condone it.”
As of this writing, no audio or video recordings of the alleged statement are known to exist.
The following Friday (September 8), a parent heard about the incident, although it’s not clear if the person in question is the parent of the gay student or of another student on the bus. The parent notified Clay County High School Vice Principal, Alan Tanner, whom the parent claims was less than sympathetic.
“I don’t know what you are talking about.”
— Zcz Zzcz (@ZczZzcz) September 13, 2017
According to a Facebook post by the Nicholas County Democratic Organization, Clay County School Counselor Leslie Osborne has taken statements from at least three other students who were on the bus that day.
As of this report, Belt continues to work as both a bus driver for the Clay County School District and as a Sheriff’s Deputy.
In a statement via Metro News, Clay County Superintendent Joe Paxton said that he is aware of the incident and that an investigation is ongoing.
“The school system expects all of our employees to maintain a safe and healthy environment, free from harassment, intimidation, bullying, and free from bias and discrimination.”
According to a report by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), LGBTQ students are far more likely to face harassment and bullying than their non-LGBTQ classmates and often risk suicide or long-term psychological effects from bullying.
[Featured Image by Tatsuo Nakamura/Shutterstock]