EUCLID, Ohio- A local mother tells the FOX 8 I-Team that a school bus driver has harassed her child and sent incident reports to her school saying the child “acts” racist for not saying good morning.
Sandra Webber says the incidents happened in the fall, and that her then 10-year-old daughter was harassed by a First Student school bus driver. First Student provides busing for private, public, and charter school students in Euclid.
“It’s very upsetting,” Webber told FOX 8. She said her daughter rides the bus to a private school.
The incident reports obtained by the FOX 8 I-Team are dated October 4 and 5 and signed by the bus driver.
The first one says that when the child got on the bus “she never acknowledged that I said good morning and I told her that good morning again and she mumbled it. But the problem is not that she mumbled it, that it never hurt anyone to say good morning. I almost call her racist because that how she acts and shows.”
The incident report on the following day also says the girl did not respond when the bus driver said good morning. The bus driver says all the other students respond.
“I thought this was ridiculous and then she defamed my daughter by calling her racist,” Webber said. She said she always advises her children to get on the bus, and not speak.
“I want them to just ride to school and mind their own business,” Webber said.
Webber said she contacted Euclid Schools Superintendent Charles Smialek, who told her that he would instruct First Student to make sure the driver “did not drive any Euclid Students, public, private or charter in the future.”
Webber said she was satisfied until recently when she found out that the bus driver is now back transporting students.
Smialek told FOX 8 that he changed his mind about the bus driver after meeting with parents and community members. He said he also reviewed the driver’s work record.
“Supporters of hers came forward, other parents and some community members to talk about what an exemplary record she had, how she was a really positive influence with their children, and we thought we made a real snap decision instead of the right decision so we did reinstitute her,” Smialek said.
He did say the driver was suspended without pay for 10 days.
“She has had no previous disciplinary problems and we haven’t had any complaints since she returned,” Smialek said. He added the driver will no longer be driving Webber’s daughter. “She will be on different routes,” he said.
A spokesman for First Student said the incident was investigated. He said the bus driver is “great” and “always on time and pleasant.”
But Webber says she is still concerned about other students. She said she has viewed the videotapes of the incidents with her daughter and remains troubled by what took place.
The I-Team requested the videos from the bus but the district has not yet responded.
“I just think it’s disappointing,” Webber said. “I think parents have a right to know what is going on on our buses, so that is why I spoke out.”