Wednesday, October 10, 2012

New Berlin School Bus Driver Tells Child He Should Have Been Aborted

Mark Belling discussed this story on his radio program yesterday. It's another tale of a Leftist behaving badly.

The Leftist, a 78-year-old woman, a New Berlin school bus driver, has been harassing a student on her bus route because there's a Mitt Romney yard sign at his home.

The child attends a Catholic school in New Berlin. He rides a Durham school bus. The company also provides service to the New Berlin public school district.

Belling read a letter from the 12-year-old boy's mother, detailing the alleged abusive behavior by the bus driver.

Apparently, the Romney-Ryan yard sign bugs the bus driver and she's been harassing the boy, making rude comments to him related to politics.

When the driver engaged the 12-year-old boy in a political conservation, he responded by saying that Obama is pro-abortion.

The bus driver allegedly said to the child, "Maybe your mom should have chosen abortion for you."

Understandably, this really upset the boy. Other kids on the bus verified the boy's account and are providing written statements.

The mom made her son's school aware of the situation. She also went to Durham School Service in New Berlin and spoke to Michael Bennett, the manager.

She learned the driver has been with the company for 20 years.

The mom told the people at Durham she was filing a complaint with the state for verbal abuse to a child.

They agreed that what the bus driver did was wrong but they first needed to talk with corporate resources in Chicago before proceeding.

Bennett called the boy's mom later and informed her the driver was suspended for the rest of the day and will no longer drive the bus for kids from the boy's school.

So, this offensive woman can be around public school kids but not Catholic school kids.

When Mark Belling contacted Bennett and asked him about the matter, Bennett would only say "no comment," being very dismissive.

A bus driver tells a boy his mother should have aborted him and the manager of the company makes no effort to apologize. That's terrible public relations.

I wonder why a 78-year-old is allowed to drive a bus full of kids, especially one that lashes out about politics to a child on her bus.

This sort of harassment is completely unacceptable. Telling a child his mother should have aborted him is way out of line.

This kind of abuse should not be tolerated. I'm glad the boy's mother brought this story to the public's attention via talk radio.

Taxpayers in New Berlin should know the sort of company Durham is and the sort of people employed by them. Parents should be concerned that their children are being exposed to someone like this abusive bus driver.

Can you imagine what the response would be if a school bus driver with conservative views harassed a child with an Obama sign in his yard?

At the very least, the company should issue an apology to the abused boy and his parents, as well as all the children served by Durham.

"Everything has changed, everything has changed in the last few years. Conservatives used to take it and we're not taking it anymore."



UPDATE: The bus driver is no longer employed by Durham.

Justin Earl, WISN, writes:

The boy's mother spoke to Vicki [McKenna] this morning and said she is continuing her quest, while someone from the Durham bus company called and said that the driver in question is no longer employed by their company. Whether she was fired or she quit is unknown, but this individual did a disservice to their profession by her behavior (which was corroborated by several students) and this is justice.
On his Wednesday program, Mark Belling gave his audience the update that the bus driver was fired. He spoke with Blaine Krage, Communications and PR Manager for Durham School Services.

The company issued a statement about the incident involving the bus driver.

Belling links to it.

Durham School Services statement on bus driver issue in New Berlin, Wisconsin:

“Durham School Services was notified by a parent on Tuesday, Oct. 9, that a bus driver in New Berlin, Wisconsin, engaged in a political debate with students the previous day and made an inappropriate remark to a child. Durham immediately removed the driver from service pending an investigation, which resulted in the termination of the driver. Prior to this incident, the driver had an incident free record while serving the community as a Durham school bus driver for more than 20 years. Notwithstanding, the driver’s remark was insensitive and inappropriate. Durham has apologized to the family. We remain strongly committed to the safe transportation of students in the community.”
This was the right move by Durham.

However, the company really had no other option.

Protecting the bus driver would have been bad for business.

Listen to Vicki McKenna's discussion with the mom of the harassed boy:

I am certain if a conservative bus driver harassed a child from a politically liberal home that story would be all over the local media. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wouldn't ignore it.

But a school bus driver, a Leftist, telling a child on her bus that he should have been aborted gets no attention from local mainstream news outlets.

That's inexcusable as well. It's an embarrassment.


UPDATE, October 11, 2012:

Milwaukee media decided it was finally time to cover the story.

Here's a report from FOX6 News:

This report says the bus driver is 81 years old. If that's accurate, the woman has aged three years in about three days. It appears the bus company didn't know her actual age, originally saying she was 78.

I'm surprised that an 81-year-old woman is driving a school bus full of kids, especially someone as clearly unstable as this woman. I don't think it's safe.

In its report, FOX6 names the mother and the boy, Debbie Ann Hartlaub and Joey Hartlaub, and interviews them.

The reporter, Ashley Sears, also spoke to the bus driver by phone. Sears stated the bus driver "said there is a lot of confusion and said everyone is trusting the words of a little boy." Sears said the bus driver "didn't really understand what the uproar was."

TMJ4 also got around to covering the story, from a decidedly sympathetic angle on behalf of the bus driver.

TMJ4 interviewed the driver, noting the police are investigating death threats made to the bus company.

Carol, an 81-year-old bus driver, says the kids she was driving were bullying her about politics. But what she said to one of them was so shocking, the school bus company decided to fire her.

The kids on the bus were Romney supporters, the bus driver supports President Obama. But the fallout from this disturbance has been so heated, police are now investigating death threats.

Police officers are keeping a close eye on the Durham School Service Bus Company. The company started receiving death threats when the story of a blow up between one of their bus drivers and a student hit local talk radio.

The elderly bus driver was too afraid to appear on camera, but she's devastated.

The bus disturbance was between Carol, and Debbie Hartlaub's 12-year-old son. She's been driving him home from Holy Apostle School for the last four years. Hartlaub claims problems started two weeks ago when she put a Romney/Ryan sign on her front lawn.

"It started with him and another student chanting at the back of the bus. They were chanting Romney, Romney -- which is goofy and inappropriate -- but he's 12," says Debbie Hartlaub.

But Carol says the chanting was to taunt her, since the kids know she supports President Obama.

"And they kept it up, and kept it up. And they had other kids doing it too. And it got louder and louder and it just got to the point where I couldn't take this anymore, you know," says Carol.

"They were chanting Romney/Ryan. And as they did, the bus driver had other opinions about it and she decided to talk back," explains the kid's brother Michael Hartlaub.

And then, things got out of hand.

"My son said Obama is pro-abortion. And the bus driver said to him, well too bad your mom didn't choose abortion for you," claims Debbie Hartlaub.

TODAY'S TMJ4's Shelley Walcott: "Are you sorry Carol, that you said what you said to this boy?"

Carol: "Of course I am Shelley. I would have never said that. It's like I didn't have control over it. It was when they got me so upset already."
The bus driver is made out to be the victim in the TMJ4 report.

The poor old lady. She was being taunted by mean kids. She claims she would never say something like that to a child, EXCEPT SHE DID. Her excuse? She "didn't have control over it."

Debbie Hartlaub is made out to be rather cold and uncaring.

Hartlaub alerted the bus company. They fired Carol on Tuesday, after 23 years of service with no previous problems.

Carol is devastated.

TODAY'S TMJ4's Shelley Walcott: "What does this job mean to you?"

Carol: "Everything. It's my livelihood. It's my livelihood, Shelley."

"You know what? My son is my son. I could care less about her bus job being her livelihood," says Debbie Hartlaub.

Police are investigating the death threats made to the bus company. Debbie Hartlaub says she's reported Carol to the Waukesha County Health and Social Services for verbal abuse of a child.
It goes without saying, but I have to say it: Death threats are no way to respond to a situation like this.

I don't really know what TMJ4 means by "death threats made to the bus company." There were no specifics. Were certain employees of the company personally threatened?

Any and all threats should be investigated.

That said, it certainly sounds like TMJ4 is on the bus driver's side.

She was fired for defending herself. Poor Carol. She's devastated. She was harassed. She couldn't take the abuse.

Why did the kids on the bus even know that Carol was an Obama supporter? The bus driver should not be voicing her political opinions to the children. That in itself is inappropriate. I never knew the politics of any of my bus drivers.

I think she deserved to lose her job. A school bus driver should not be engaging in political discussion with the kids on the bus, let alone telling a child his mother should have aborted him.

It's inexcusable to lash out like that to a child in her care. She's the adult. She has to be able to deal with kids chanting "Romney, Romney" without flipping out. If she can't handle it, she's not fit to drive a school bus. She should have been concentrating on her driving and the safety of the children, not getting upset about a Romney yard sign.

If Carol is to be seen as a victim, then she must be considered a victim of her own lack of control and bad behavior.

Here's video of TMJ4's report:


Dave said...

Hey there you are! The gatewaypundit link is up on Drudge right now!

Anonymous said...

I would get a good lawyer and sue the woman and the company for intential infliction of emotional distress. And the company for failing to supervise its employees.

dave in boca said...

I grew up in New Berlin [Calhoun Farms] and went to St. Mary's in Elm Grove via school bus. Back in the day, no school bus driver, even if she were 78, would think of making political remarks to a middle-school child. Glad to see she's been sh*t-canned & should have a note making sure she's never in touch with kids again!