Halifax school-bus driver fired after swearing at fighting kids
Published Friday, November 23, 2012 11:53AM EST
Hundreds of people are rallying behind a Halifax school-bus driver who was fired after using inappropriate language as she broke up a fight on her bus.
More than 1,700 have signed up to a Facebook group asking the bus company to give Heather Vidito her job back, and supporters have been flooding the local school board with emails.
Vidito’s troubles began after a video was posted to YouTube Tuesday showing her breaking up a fight between two students, exchanging swear words with one of them in the process. The video has since been removed.
The two boys were in the back seat on the way home from Gaetz Brook Junior High School and Eastern Shore District High School. The driver is seen swearing and yelling at them to stop fighting, before pulling them apart, prompting the heated exchange.
The school board says the boys have been “disciplined at their schools,” but spokesperson Doug Hadley says he can’t go into personal details about the students or their punishments. The Halifax Regional School Board’s code of conduct lists parent conferences, suspension, police involvement and anger management counselling among potential consequences for assault.
Consequences for verbal abuse include being forced to write a letter of apology, anger management counselling and suspension.
Due to privacy rules, Hadley couldn’t confirm a Facebook report that one of the students is the driver’s son.
He said the members of the “Stock Transportation -- Give Heather Vidito Her Job Back” group have been filling his inbox with emails, but says the board did not request that the driver be fired.
“All we did was share our concern with them about the driver’s … use of language,” he said. “My inbox hasn’t seen this much activity in a while, but I guess it goes with the territory.”
A Halifax Regional School Board spokesperson told CTV Atlantic on Thursday that Vidito was right to break up the fight, but that the board doesn't agree with her choice of language.
Stock Transportation’s Barrie, Ont., head office told CTVNews.ca that they are still investigating the incident.
“Although we understand the challenge and difficulty our driver faced in this situation, Stock, in no way, condones the behavior exhibited by our employee,” the company said in an email sent Friday morning.
Many parents and students at Eastern Shore District High School think she shouldn't have been let go.
“She can make anybody laugh,” student Rebecca Robichaud told CTV Atlantic on Thursday. “She is a really nice lady … She is like a role model. She's such a strong woman. It's so sad that would have to happen.”
On the Facebook group, a woman claiming to be Vidito -- but posting under the name Sara Danielle Chiasson -- thanked her supporters for their kind words on Friday.
“Thank u all !!!!!! soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much for ur support and kind words .You don’t know how much it has touched me,” she said.
With files from The Canadian Press