May 17, 2010

Mom Says Bus Driver Made Fun Of Girl For Gay Parents

WLKY-TV Louisville -- (CBS Affiliate) A mother said a Jefferson County school bus driver made fun of her child for having same-sex parents.

A Jefferson County Public Schools spokeswoman said an investigation is under way, but the mother wants the bus driver fired.

WLKY's Carissa Lawson spoke exclusively with the mother about what she said happened.

The mother said the bus driver made the comments on March 31 to her middle school-aged daughter and since it has been over a month with no resolution she is now making her complaint public.

"Someone used the word 'fag' very loudly and she thought it was coming from the bus driver," the mother said.

This mother asked WLKY to conceal her identity to protect her daughter. She said students on her daughter's bus were talking about gays and lesbians when her daughter thought she heard the bus driver chime in with a negative gay reference.

"So she stated to her 'Can you please not use that?' and the bus driver snickered and she said 'My mom's gay and that offends me.' and the bus driver said, 'Well, isn't that a contradiction,'" the mother said.

The mother said she called the bus driver for an explanation.

"I said, 'Can you explain to me what you mean by contradiction?' so she stated, 'You had to have relations with a man before in order to be a mom. You can't be gay and be a mom,'" the mother said. "You can't say that to a child."

Her daughter was suspended from the bus for three days for calling the bus driver a name and when the mom was called in to discuss the incident, she said her frustration grew when the assistant principal and the transportation department did nothing to discipline the driver.

"It's not right. They should take it more seriously. My daughter's scared," the mother said. "My daughter has enough to deal with. This isn't her choice. Her choice isn't that I'm gay and that she has two moms, but she's accepted it and she stood up for her mother and she's being punished for that."

When WLKY called the school, the principal referred us to a spokeswoman for JCPS. Spokeswoman Lauren Roberts said the principal only found out about the ordeal last week and immediately requested a district investigation.

"If disciplinary action is warranted there will be disciplinary action in terms of the employee, but we need to get all the facts first," Roberts said.

"I want her to be terminated. I think now it's been pushed off and pushed off and we've got past some sort of slap on the hand," the mother said describing the bus driver.

The mother has also contacted the Kentucky Equality Federation for help. The president told WLKY the organization has filed complaints with the ethics board, the state Department of Education and lawmakers.

The district investigation should be finished in about a week or two. That is when the mother will find out if the bus driver is found to have done anything wrong.

Kentucky Equality Federation is Kentucky's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights and advocacy organization. They are calling for the termination or route change for the JCPS bus driver involved. The organization is also calling for an official apology from the child's school for how the school dealt with the incident.

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