Middlebury Schools bus driver fired for alleged inappropriate interactions with young female students

Updated: Mar. 22, 2023 at 5:20 PM EDT
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MIDDLEBURY, Ind. (WNDU) - Administrators at Middlebury Community Schools revealed their reasons for firing one of their bus drivers after many came to the employee’s defense under a different assumption.

People were quick to speak out online that this firing was due to this employee being a youth pastor and sharing his religious beliefs. Many even put up signs in their front lawns.

In a public statement Tuesday night, the school district not only dispelled these claims as misinformation, but they also cite three separate instances they considered inappropriate that led to their decision.

They say all three happened in the past year and all of them involved inappropriate interactions with young female students.

The first was back on May 17th, 2022 when a female middle school student reported feeling uncomfortable after the bus driver allegedly gifted her a book and told her to call him on his personal cell phone when she finished.

That garnered a verbal warning.

Five months later on December 16th, 2022 the parents of two fourth-grade girls filed a complaint claiming the bus driver arrived at one of their homes unannounced to drop off gifts to the girls he called his quote “special helpers”.

The district claims he then offered to drive one of the students home in his personal vehicle which school policy prohibits. This resulted in a written warning.

Then on March 10th, 2023 another school employee claimed they saw the bus driver with a 2nd-grade female student sitting on his lap for nearly ten minutes as he intermittently stroked her hair, laid her head on his chest, either smelled or kissed her head, and rested his chin on her head. The district said this was confirmed on bus surveillance video, and ended up being the final straw.

They said this showed “a repeated and continued failure to interact appropriately with young female students.”

The former bus driver is currently not facing any charges so WNDU is not identifying him.

Signs like these, which we’ve partially blurred to keep the identity of the subject of this personnel decision confidential, have dwindled since the school came out with its explanation.

However, the person who lives here told me off camera that she was at the school board meeting Tuesday night, and believes the allegations against the bus driver are made out to seem worse than they really were.

School officials declined to comment beyond the public statement they issued, and we’ve yet to hear a response to our request for comment from the bus driver or any of the other people who say they still support him.