N.Y. School Bus Driver Embroils Himself in Transgender Issue

N.Y.  School Bus Driver Embroils Himself in Transgender Issue Archive photo

The South Glens Falls Central School District superintendent said a school bus driver who tried to force students to sit on the bus by their assigned gender was in the wrong, reports News 10.

The incident occurred on Sept. 20 as the bus was preparing to leave a local high school. A student on the bus captured cell phone video of the driver directing boys to sit on one side of the bus and girls on the other. He told two of the students who identify as males to sit on the girl’s side instead. Another student stands up and tells the driver she wouldn’t sit down because he was being discriminatory. The driver then tells the three students to get off the bus.

One of the transgender students later said the incident caused the student to come out of the closet.

Superintendent Michael Patton said it is not district policy to require students to sit on the bus by gender. He said the driver was wrong but did not add if he faces disciplinary action. But he indicated that all bus drivers will receive training.

“There were opportunities during that discussion to change obviously his initial reaction but it didn’t happen,” Patton told News 10, while also praising the student who stood up to the driver. “That’s really unfortunate, so again, we’re going to use this as a learning experience. It’s new for public education to be working through these types of situations, but it’s something that we have to do a better job with.”

Patton said the the bus was still at the school when the three students were kicked off the bus, and an administrator immediately called their parents to communicate what happened.

A parent of a student on the bus said that the job of school bus drivers is to get the students to and from school safely, “not to bring politics into the mix.”

Last year, the New York Association for Pupil Transportation and the Pupil Transportation Safety institute developed training for school bus drivers on how to interact with transgender students.