Two Kettering City Schools bus drivers have returned to work after suspensions that came following allegations they violated procedures and engaged in inappropriate conduct in front of students, according to a memo obtained by this news outlet.
The memo from Ken Lackey, director of Business Services for the district, said the word “fondling,” which he used in pre-disciplinary letters, caused the incident to be blown out of proportion.
Susan Wilson and Steven M. Rector were placed on paid administrative leave from Nov. 1-24 and unpaid suspension from Nov. 27 to Dec. 1 “as a result of a disciplinary hearing,” according to the school district.
Documents in their personnel files indicate they were disciplined for “kissing and fondling” each other on one driver’s bus while students were nearby.
In a memo sent to all Kettering City Schools transportation employees dated Nov. 30, Lackey said Rector and Wilson were disciplined for not properly conducting pre-trip inspections. Rector was also disciplined for being on Wilson’s bus while students were boarding, rather than supervising students getting on his bus, according to Lackey’s memo.
“Personal interaction ... that should not take place in front of the students” also occurred between Wilson and Rector, Lackey’s memo said. But the memo said Lackey regrets the use of the word “fondling” in the pre-disciplinary documents.
The pre-disciplinary hearing notice stated the district received a complaint from a student on Oct. 30 that the bus drivers had been engaging in inappropriate conduct on Wilson’s bus for about two weeks.
The notice also stated school officials reviewed bus videos from three different afternoons that revealed evidence the drivers “engaged in physical touching, hugging, kissing and fondling activities on (Wilson’s) bus with students boarding and sitting in close proximity to you.”
On Monday, Rector and Wilson returned to work following the suspensions, according to the memo.
“Both are good employees and I believe them to be good people. We all make mistakes,” Lackey said.