JCPS bus driver who left kindergartner on bus now working as tra - WDRB 41 Louisville News

JCPS bus driver who left kindergartner on bus now working as transportation assistant

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) --  Despite a recommendation that he be fired, the JCPS bus driver who left kindergartner unattended on his bus for nearly an hour last month is now a transportation assistant helping load and unload special needs students onto buses.

Officials told WDRB News on Aug. 19 that Darryl Lewis Sr. had resigned from his position as a bus driver, but wouldn't say if he would remain employed by Jefferson County Public Schools in another capacity.

Jennifer Brislin, a district spokeswoman, told WDRB on Monday that Lewis "accepted a voluntary demotion to special needs transportation assistant."

When similar incidents have happened in the past, it has been the district’s practice to either allow the bus driver to resign or face termination.

"The district recommended termination," Brislin said. "Mr. Lewis filed a grievance, and this action was the result of a grievance resolution."

Lewis received a five-day suspension with pay, according to a disciplinary action notification placed in his personnel file on Aug. 25. His salary decreased from $28,538 to $20,656 annually.

"You failed to check your bus for students after finishing your elementary route," the notification states. "You returned to the compound, parked your bus and left for the day. After a parent arrived at the compound looking for a student, the elementary student was found on your bus. All bus drivers are instructed to check their bus at the end of each route. This is a zero-tolerance infraction."

Brislin said Lewis is still working out of the Jacob Bus Compound on Georgetown Place. On Aug. 16, Lewis was working out of the same compound when a Dunn Elementary kindergartner was found asleep on the bus around 6:30 p.m. 

JCPS said the child was fine and required no medical attention, but believe that he had been unattended for 45 minutes when district officials and a parent found him.

According to the JCPS job description, a special needs transportation assistant helps the bus driver in "supervising, loading and unloading students transported on special needs buses and provides direct support to students as assigned."

Lewis was hired by the district in 2006. 

His personnel file, obtained through an open records request, shows some previous minor reprimands for oversleeping and showing up late for his route in February of 2009 and September of 2014, as well as a suspension in March of 2012 for having an expired medical card. He was also reprimanded in May 2009 for running out of fuel and in October of 2009 for allowing a student to exit his bus at a location other than the child's designated stop.

In March 2015, another district bus driver resigned from the district after leaving a kindergartner on a bus. In that incident, the female student was left alone for two hours. Records show that driver Michael Wise broke district policy twice when he failed to check his bus before leaving Eisenhower Elementary and again before leaving the Lees Lane bus compound.

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