Bus driver keeps her job after kicking off student with peanut allergy

The Union-North school board meeting was heated at times as board members discussed the fate of bus driver Kelly Carrico. In September, Carrico stopped picking up a kindergartner with a severe peanut allergy.

Carrico is an independent bus driver for the corporation who drives a contracted route. As an independent driver she provides her own bus, but her insurance doesn't protect her if she assists the child when he suffers an allergic reaction.

The boy's parents complained to the corporation and the school board moved to terminate Carrico's contract two weeks ago however they tabled it for further discussion.

On Thursday the board voted not to terminate her contract, but can vote to terminate her contract if additional discussions don't go well.

"If we don't reach an agreement we will definitely be looking at litigation because we believe she's entitled to the full term on the contract," said Vincent Campiti, Carrico's lawyer.

The corporation points out language in Carrico's contract, which states she must pick up 'all' children on her route.

"If a child breaks their leg, paraplegic, you cannot say that she then has to transport that child with no mobility equipment. There are too many situations that can pop up where all does not mean all and we think this is one of them," said Campiti.

The district however believes Carrico should have continued picking up the boy.

"I don’t think there's a clearer word than all. When he tries to say that all is an ambiguous word I’ll challenge him to try to get a clearer word than all, all means all," said corporation attorney Mark Scudder.

Complicating matters is a break-down in communication between the district and Carrico.

"The last two weeks we’ve heard nothing. What they wanted to do is meet only with my client, which at this stage makes no sense because she’s already had conflict issues with the prior superintendent she simply wants take sure nothing is missed," said Campiti.

Scudder said in the two week period before the vote he had spoke with Campiti.

Meanwhile the boy's parents have been driving him to school for the past two months.

"Simply refusing to take the child to school wasn’t going to work. There were some concessions the school can make with aides, perhaps things like that, but eventually there's going to have to be a middle ground that we both need to meet," said Scudder.

The board has offered to send an aide to ride the bus with the boy who would be responsible for any allergic reactions. Carrico said she is open to the idea, however the boy's parents have told the corporation they don't want their son riding on her bus. The board also considered amending her contract to deduct the miles she goes to the boy's home and having a corporation bus take him and others on the street to school.

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