Elementary school students were allegedly kicked off their bus for eating and passing around chips, resulting in the bus driver and aide being fired.
According to a letter from Muskegon Public Schools Superintendent Matthew Cortez, the bus driver and aide ordered "several" students to get off the bus last Friday for eating and sharing a bag of chips. The students obeyed and were dropped off a few stops ahead of their designated drop off points.
The older children who were kicked out guided their juniors "to safety," Cortez said in the letter addressed to parents confirming the incident. PEOPLE magazine obtained a copy of the letter.
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He added that neither the driver nor the aide reported the incident, which the school district and the transportation company—Dean Transportation—only found out the day after, when parents notified the bus garage.
The staffers were immediately placed on leave as an investigation was launched, said the superintendent who condemned the driver and aide's "deplorable" actions.
"The investigation revealed the complaints of parents were valid. It confirmed how the actions of the driver and aide put students at risk," the letter read, as quoted by PEOPLE magazine. "Their actions were deplorable and violated district policies, ethics, and protocol."
Cortez asserted there was "no excuse" for the staffers' behavior and that he personally met with the owner of Dean Transportation. The company was "shocked" to learn about the incident and subsequently fired the driver and the aide.
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"Dean has reached out to each student’s guardians to apologize for the incident and inform them of the investigation findings," Kellie P. Dean, the company’s president and CEO, said in a statement to PEOPLE.
"The driver and monitor’s decision was in complete violation of company policy. The safety of our students is our first commitment."
He added that the company has "reinforced the training, policies, and protocols" among their staff to ensure that a similar incident will be avoided in the future.