Just When You Thought it Was Safe To Ride The Bus…
This story immediately brought back memories of Outkast’s 1998 song “Rosa Parks” with its infamous lyric “Ah ha, hush that fuss, everyone move to the back of the bus” :
This story comes out of Louisiana; Coushatta, La to be exact (via NPR.org and CNN.com) where a white school bus driver was been suspended for making black kids ride in the back of the bus. After hearing complaints from two parents, a school principal told the bus driver to “revise her seating plan” (this quote quoted from the NPR story). The “revision”, such as it was, was to make all 9 black kids sit in the very last two seats of the bus. The larger children had to sit holding the smaller ones in their laps. CNN reports that the children were all riding another bus last school year, but reassigned to a new rout driven by the bus driver in question (her name has not been given). When school started this month, the black students were told to sit in the back while the white students were allowed to seat themselves. After the initial complaint came the so-called “revision”, which took place earlier this week.
No justification was given about the “revised” seating arrangement.
According to the NPR story (but absent from CNN), the bus driver’s “justification” was that their was a seating chart enforced from the earlier school year that didn’t account for the new black children, so she had them sit in the back of the bus.
Since all of this, the bus driver, who has been driving with a clean record for more than 20 years, was awarded her request for retirement with all her retirement benefits intact.
Meanwhile, the Coushatta school district is dragging its feet in the eyes of the families involved with this case. CNN reports that the two women who complained to parish officials said their complaints were not immediately addressed.
What’s My Take On It?
It’s not really surprising to me that this has happened in this day and age. Disturbing, definitely, and most definitely heartbreaking that children this young (16 and under) had to learn about bigotry first hand. Even more shocking to me, however, is that this lady who had clearly violated these young kids civil rights that many fought, bled, and died for was allowed to retire with full benefits with a supporting vote from the school board. How ridiculous is that?? Needless to say, I’m a bit outraged at all of this. I had hoped that we were at least beginning to be past all of this, but I see now that no matter how many steps we collectively take forward, it only takes one idiotic bigot to take one giant step back.