School bus driver fired for political outburst toward student
Shelley Walcott reports Video by wtmj.comvideo
NEW BERLIN- A blow up on a school bus costs an elderly driver her job.
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."
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.