Dattco Bus Driver Removed for Comments

A+Coleytown+bus+driver+was+removed+after+threatening+students+and+making+comments+of+a+sexual+nature.+

Photo courtesy of MCT Campus.

A Coleytown bus driver was removed after threatening students and making comments of a sexual nature.

Parents are still angry at the way Westport schools handled a bus incident where a driver allegedly shouted sexual and threatening remarks at Coleytown Middle School students riding a bus route on Oct. 18.

Dattco Bus company has since removed the driver from his position.

The incident on the bus began that morning when the driver talked about topics of a sexual nature, according to multiple parents interviewed. Students, upset by the comments, the parents said, reported to their guidance counselor what had happened.

However, that afternoon, the same bus driver, on the bus ride home, began threatening the students. “I’m 180 pounds of muscle, and you’re 100 pounds of fat, and I could wipe the floor with you,” parent Roberta Farrell paraphrased the bus driver’s words. Several groups of children got off the bus early, fearing the driver, some walking home and some calling parents for rides.

Parents said they are upset about the comments the driver made, but they also feel that the driver should have been pulled from the route after the morning incident.

“If he was a teacher, and at 8 a.m. he was talking about his sex life, you know that teacher wouldn’t have had lunch there,” said Eileen Ludy, a parent who spoke, with other parents, at the Oct. 22 Board of Education meeting.

Ludy said she was in her house near the bus stop when her son got off the bus, heard shouting, and, as she approached the bus, her son ran past her, crying, and the driver yelled at her and slammed the door.

Farrell believes the bus driver was “retaliating against someone reporting him.”

Parents like Ludy pressed the board for a change in policy that would give the school administration the authority to pull the driver.

Christine Kurpiel, whose child was on the bus, sent an e-mail to parents asking them to “please contact the Board of Education . . . Let them know your dissatisfaction and concern, and that you expect something to be done.”

Jarret Liotta, another parent who spoke at the meeting, was critical of Westport Superintendent of Schools Elliott Landon and Coordinator of Transportation Sandra Evangelista.

“I know we’re all going to be more vigilant going forward, but I think its vital to use this opportunity to honestly assess what we want our school system to be about, beginning with the people in leadership roles.”

Repeated attempts to reach Landon and Evangelista were not successful.