News Feature

Surry
Originally published in The Weekly Packet, December 19, 2013
Surry bus driver who used duct tape on students fired by First Student

by Anne Berleant

A First Student bus driver accused of using “Hello Kitty”-patterned duct tape to quiet Surry students has been terminated.

“She is no longer an employee,” Superintendent Mark Hurvitt said in a December 17 phone call.

The driver was placed on administrative leave on November 7, while First Student investigated the incidents that students reported to Principal Cathy Lewis one day earlier.

When contacted, First Student declined to comment on the conclusions of its investigation.

“Every time I called, she was on administrative leave, until I called last week and [found out] she was terminated,” Hurvitt said.

“The bus driver involved in this incident is no longer employed by First Student,” wrote First Student spokesperson Stephanie Creech. “It is not company policy to publicly discuss personnel issues.”

As the driver never faced criminal charges and was not a school employee, her name was not released to the public.

The incident was widely reported throughout Maine and by national news organizations; it was also a subject of a Saturday Night Live skit on November 16.

Principal Cathy Lewis said earlier this month that both current First Student bus drivers are “quality bus drivers.” Meanwhile, the school board is reviewing its bussing options.