A Louisiana school bus driver is now out of a job, after she was caught on camera making racially insensitive comments about George Floyd to an 11-year-old student on her bus.
The comment was reported to the school system last week by Rose Gabriel, who initially learned of the incident after her son Rashad, who is Black, informed her last week that his white bus driver said something racist to him, according to 4WWL.
Rashad told his mother that the bus driver admonished him that morning for having his mask resting beneath his nose, after which the boy explained he was out of breath from running to catch the bus.
Gabriel said the driver replied to her child with, “Since George Floyd, that’s what you all say, but I don’t see a knee on your neck.”
The mother almost could not believe what she heard. She said, “I’m like, ‘Are you sure she said that?’ He said, ‘Yeah, all the kids on the bus heard it.’ ”
She became emotional at the thought of Rashad being forced to have such an encounter in front of his peers.
“I just started crying,” Gabriel recalled. “Because she….excuse me. Don’t make him feel inferior. He’s not inferior to nothing. He’s equal to any of those students on that bus.”
She added, “I get chills right now. It hurt me. It hurt me.”
Gabriel drove Rashad to school that next Monday, and reported the incident, which was also documented on the bus surveillance camera.
After the driver confessed to making the comment, School Superintendent Doris Voitier was notified of the situation, and shortly afterward the staff member was no longer employed.
Voiter told 4WWL that she could not verify if the driver was fired or resigned, but could confirm that “She no longer works for our school system.”
“I can’t defend that. I don’t condone that. What she said is offensive and inappropriate. It was racially insensitive. And we took appropriate action.”
Voitier said he was aware that the situation needed to be handled delicately, as it occurred while the trial for Derek Chauvin, the officer who faced three charges in the death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd, was underway.
Gabriel was pleased by the swift action taken by her son’s school system, and is reassured by the fact that the driver can no longer do any harm. “It made me relieved that I know she’s no longer on the bus with my son or anybody else’s child,” she said.
Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of killing Floyd by kneeling on his neck for more than nine minutes, as Floyd pleaded, saying that he couldn’t breathe. After a three-week trial, a jury convicted Chauvin on Tuesday, April 20, on three counts: second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.