An Amherst bus driver has resigned “effective immediately” as school officials conduct an investigation surrounding an incident involving alleged "unacceptable" behavior.
Amherst Superintendent Mike Molnar tells 3News he sent the following letter to parents throughout the district along with an all-call with the same message: Dear Amherst Parents, This evening, I received a video circulating on social media of a bus driver using inappropriate and offensive language towards students. The behavior exhibited by the bus driver is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. I have accepted the bus driver's resignation effective immediately and the incident will be fully investigated. The actions of the bus driver do not represent the values and standards we uphold as a district and do not reflect our commitment to providing a safe, caring, and compassionate educational environment. Moving forward, our Transportation Department will review its procedures to make sure we are handling situations appropriately for the safety of our students. The district will also continue to support our bus drivers with proper training and professional development. As Superintendent, I will continue to focus my energy and efforts on creating a positive and safe environment for all students and staff. I believe that open communication and constructive feedback from our community help us create a stronger and more supportive environment. Thank you.
The bus driver, Jackie Miller, is now she's sharing her side of the story with 3News' Bri Buckley.
"That particular day was challenging to say the very least because it started the minute this core group of students got on the bus," Miller said.
She said a group of kids on her bus constantly act out, purposefully instigating her for the last two years, and she finally had enough.
"I'm sorry for the way this went down, I truly am," Miller said. "I do apologize for my actions, but I won't take it back."
She told 3News that she suffers from asthma and strong fragrances will trigger her attacks.
One student yelled that another had sprayed perfume, which led to what you see in the video. She said just last month this led to an attack.
"She sprayed perfume on the bus and I had a horrible asthma attack. I had to stop the bus, grab my inhaler and try to get my lungs to open up again. I had all the kids open up all the windows they know this," Miller said.
Amid a nationwide bus driver shortage, Miller said behavior like this is largely to blame.
"This is a plight of all bus drivers, we are treated in the worst possible sense of the word," Miller said. "We are treated with such lack of respect."