Bus driver contests termination after Hello Kitty duct tape incident

Posted Jan. 08, 2014, at 4:20 p.m.

ELLSWORTH, Maine — A school bus driver who allegedly put Hello Kitty duct tape on students’ mouths and subsequently lost her job is disputing her termination by her employer, First Student.

Ed Marzano of the Teamsters Local No. 340, which represents First Student bus drivers, said Wednesday that the union has filed for arbitration.

The bus driver was originally put on paid administrative leave in early November after the principal of the Surry Elementary School heard from students that the bus driver was putting the tape on the students’ mouths when they were noisy.

The principal quickly alerted First Student and the company began an investigation into the incident.

Marzano said this week that the driver received a notice in the mail from First Student on Nov. 20 stating that she needed to contact the company within 24 hours of receiving that notice or the company would consider her resigned. According to Marzano, the driver faxed a response on the same day, but he said a First Student representative told him that she did not.

A union representative, a company representative and a third party will meet to settle the dispute later this month, Marzano said.

First Student did not respond on Wednesday to calls for comment.

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