School bus driver terminated

Even an attorney from the Louisiana School Bus Association could not save bus driver Walden Jordan’s job.

Vermilion Parish School Superintendent, Randy Schexnayder made a recommendation to the School Board to dismiss Jordan.

Schexnayder read the charges against Jordan: suspended or attempting to suspend students from her bus without permission from the school’s principal, she refused to pickup students who were improperly suspended, she encouraged a young student to cut a flip while the bus was in motion, frequent use of the cell phone while the bus was in motion, use of vulgar language to parents, and attempt to extract payments from the Boys and Girls Club for delivering students from Eaton Park Elementary.

But before the School Board members could act, Jordan’s attorney, William Whatley from the school bus association, tried to convince the board members that what Jordan did, did not warrant her to be terminated, only suspended.

Whatley addressed some of the charges against his client in front of the board. He said she did tell students that they were getting suspended from the bus because it was her way to calm them down when students act up. While she did tell the students that, she never stopped a student from riding the bus, he said.

But there were two families who did bring their children to school after their student was told he was suspended from the bus.

A bus driver does not have the authority to suspend a student from the bus without approval from the principal.

Eaton Park Principal, Paul Hebert told the board that he was unaware that Jordan was telling students that she was suspending them from the bus. He recently found out after a parent of a child who she “suspended” visited Hebert at school. He began his own investigation.

The board also learned that a student did a flip in the aisle after Jordan told the student that acting that way would get him suspended from the bus anyway, Hebert said. So the kid ran around in the aisle and eventually did a flip while the bus was moving, he added.

Hebert said Jordan never wrote the child up.

He read to the board the comments that each student told him about Jordan telling students they were going to be suspended if they act up. Hebert also said the students said she stays on her cell phone while driving.

Kirk Soileau, head of transportation, said he had warned her many times about talking on her phone while driving.

Jordan did have a group of parents who defended her and they told the members that they did not want to see Jordan terminated.

School Board member Charles Campbell made a substitute motion that Jordan be suspended for two weeks and not fired. He did not get a second.

The board voted 6-1 to terminate Jordan. Campbell was the only vote against.

Board member Angela Faulk said the reason she voted to terminate was not because of the statements of children on the bus, but because of what Jordan’s supervisors said.

“Mr. Soileau and Mrs. (Charlotte) Waguespack, adults, have called her in over the last two years and talked to her about problems. That is where I put my weight,” Faulk said.

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