Collinsville bus driver fired for refusing to drive students home

News-DemocratOctober 30, 2013 

Collinsville parents were horrified Monday to learn that a bus driver who abandoned his route and dumped their kids off at a busy intersection was back on the job Tuesday.

But Unit 10 Superintendent Robert Green said the driver, who got upset because fifth and sixth grade students were talking loudly so he stopped at Belt Line Road and North Keebler Avenue and told kids to get off the bus and either call their parents for a ride or walk home, is now gone for good.

Green said parents called his office Tuesday morning in shock that the driver was back on the route.

"The bus driver works for First Student, not for us, and the parent had called them after what happened Monday to complain," Green said. "When the driver was back on Tuesday the parent came to me. So I called First Student and told them I had heard about what happened and that I was a little puzzled about why he was still driving."

Green said First Student told him that he'd have to submit a request in writing to have the driver removed from Unit 10's routes.

"I told them "you've got it,'" Green said.

A person who answered the phone Wednesday at First Student Transportation's Collinsville office said no one there wished to comment about the situation.

Green called the driver's actions "totally unjustified." He said the bus in which the students were riding had no video camera system. But he said he believes that the students weren't doing anything out of the ordinary besides carrying on like 10 and 11-year-olds normally do.

Even if the kids were acting in an unacceptable way, Green said the driver was wrong to throw them off the bus. He said for lesser incidents drivers are instructed to write a complaint about the offending students and submit it to the school. For immediate threats or violence, the school resource officer should be called to meet the bus on its route. Then the police can handle the situation.

Beltline road is a five-lane road with heavy traffic in a heavy commercial area of Collinsville.

The driver's name has not been released. Because he was not a District 10 employee, Green said he did not know how long the bus driver had handled one of the school's routes or if there had been previous complaints about him.

Green said he has asked First Student to take specific drivers off Unit 10 routes before. But never for an issue like what happened Monday.

"As far as there being an issue like this, it's a new one for me," Green said. "It's not the way we want to do business. I'm sorry it happened and I want to reassure the parents that we're going to stay on top of it and be vigilant."

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