School Bus Driver Preaches to Student. Allegedly.

The ACLU has sent a letter to the administration of East Baton Rouge Schools in Louisiana urging them to take action against a bus driver who allegedly held a student on the bus that she thought was gay and told him that he needed to repent to God.

According to the letter, the 16-year-old student — who was identified only as John Doe — attempted to exit the school bus on Oct. 10, but he was stopped by the bus driver.

“The driver then asked John Doe if he went to church or participated in any church-like activity,” the letter explained. “When John Doe told the driver no, she told him that ‘going to church is how he can avoid sin.’ She proceeded to tell John Doe that homosexuality is a ‘sin’ and that he can go to hell for it.”

John Doe said that the driver warned him that he must “repent” for his “sinful ways” by praying to God, and by going to church. She also reportedly gave him advice on which Bible to get, and which church to attend.

After John Doe was released from the bus, he told his sister what happened, and she informed Principal Shalonda Simoneaux, who advised the students to “call transportation because I’m not her boss.”

Someone in the transportation department eventually told Doe’s parents that the bus driver had been informed that she could no longer talk about religion or sexuality with students.

District spokesman Keith Bromery insisted to The Times-Picayune that a “reprimand and counseling, and having this in her personnel file was all that this should entail, and thats what happened.”

The ACLU, however, said that the district needed to do more by educating all school staff about The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, and Title IX’s rules against discrimination. The civil rights advocates also advised schools to have a procedure allowing staff to respond to harassment complaints, and to provide counseling to students if necessary.

“Moreover, the School Board must ensure that John and Jane Doe are not retaliated against for reporting the school bus driver’s inappropriate and harmful behavior,” the ACLU added.

Letters like this are important because they tell the schools that they’re being watched. They often try to sweep these things under the rug.

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  • Crimson Clupeidae

    They often try to sweep these things under the rug.

    There’s a ‘thrown under the bus’ joke in there somewhere….

  • Modusoperandi

    Hail to the bus driver, bus driver, bus driver,

    Hail to the bus driver, bus driver wo-man.

    She snorts and she sneezes and she tells us about Jesus.

    Hail to the bus driver, bus driver wo-man.

    She rum-bles and ro-lls and saves all our so-uls,

    Hail to the bus driver, bus driver woman!

  • Trebuchet

    More persecution of Christians! It’ll be FEMA camps next! Eleventy!

  • rationalinks

    How dare the ACLU trample all over that poor bus driver’s religious rights! I have it on good authority that it is the driver’s closely held belief that gayhomos are all sinners and must repent to Jesus. By not allowing the driver to persecute..errr…educate that student, they are denying her her religious freedom! That’s just common sense.


  • Alverant

    What the driver did was a felony. It’s unlawful detainment. The punishment doesn’t fit the crime. Anyone who doesn’t know you shouldn’t force someone to listen to your religious spiel shouldn’t have a job.

    What’s not mentioned is that the parents did contact the school principal who said it wasn’t the school’s responsibility and refused to do anything.

    I can only wonder what would happen if the driver was muslim or Atheist and did something like this.

  • reddiaperbaby1942

    What I find interesting is how this information can be slanted and presented in a completely different light: Here is the headline and first paragraph of the report of the same incident on the Daily Caller, where the focus is not on the bus-driver’s actions but on the ‘reprehensible’, ‘exaggerated’ response by the ACLU:

    “ACLU Complains About La. Bus Driver Who Told Student Homosexuality Is A Sin.”

    “The executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Louisiana has written a firm, solemn 1,744-word letter (with seven footnotes) to a school district because a bus driver warned a kid that homosexuality is a sin one day last month.”

    Note the use of the present tense in both the headline and the last sentence.- “homosexuality is a sin”, where the grammatical sequence of tenses would require the imperfect (“she told him it was a sin”). You might say this is just sloppy writing, but it’s also a good example of how language can be used to manipulate readers.

    And you should see some of the comments, about sodomites and sin!

  • jufulu

    Crazy hunh. My daughter’s father-in-law was fired as a bus driver for this shit. Her bother-in-law does the same thing while driving a cab. Thank dog that my son-in-law, tho scarred, is almost normal. Fundies say the dumbest things.

  • bmiller

    One possible positive spin on this story: Has the culture changed so much that a young student in EAST BATON ROUGE can be somewhat open about being gay? And complaints about harassment don;t lead to outright violence in response.

    That reflects a signficant culture change, perhaps?