Middlebury bus driver fired for inappropriate interactions with female students

MIDDLEBURY, Ind. - A bus driver with Middlebury Community Schools was fired for his alleged inappropriate interactions with young, female students, the school district announced in an online statement Monday.

According to the statement, the corporation decided to publicly address the termination after information spread on social media claiming the driver was fired for his religious beliefs.

District leaders said the corporation tried several times to "redirect the bus driver through progressive discipline, designed to correct his objectionable behavior" but the efforts didn’t work.

On one occasion, which happened in May of 2022, the bus driver allegedly gave a middle school girl a book as a gift and told the student to call him on his private cell phone after reading it.

The girl reported the incident to school employees.

At the time, school administrators gave the bus driver a verbal warning.

On a second occasion, the parents of two elementary schoolers filed a formal complaint to the corporation, saying the bus driver showed up announced to one of their houses to give the students, whom he called his "special helpers," gifts, reports said.

The bus driver then allegedly offered to drive one of the students to her house in his own vehicle, which is against school policy.

In response to this incident, the corporation gave the bus driver a written reprimand and told him to avoid any inappropriate interactions with students in the future.

In March of 2023, a school employee saw the bus driver with an elementary schooler sitting on his lap while waiting to release students into the school building, according to reports.

School bus video showed the student sitting there for nearly 10 minutes and during that time, the driver was captured stroking her hair, laying her head on his chest, either smelling or kissing her head and resting his chin on her head.

In response to the driver's firing, the corporation said the following:

"Middlebury Community Schools will take all reasonable measures to protect students.  Sometimes employees fail to recognize appropriate boundaries when interacting with students.  When the circumstances warrant, Middlebury Community Schools attempts to correct that failure by providing the employee with specific instructions and directives.  When an employee continues to fail to abide by those directives and again steps over those boundaries, Middlebury Community Schools must take disciplinary action.  After viewing the video evidence, it is clear that the bus driver violated the directives.  The school district cannot allow any employee, regardless of his or her community status, to behave improperly with students."

The school corporation said they will not make further comments about the personal matter apart from the online statement.

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