JCPS bus driver fired for failing to intervene in alleged studen - WDRB 41 Louisville News

JCPS bus driver fired for failing to intervene in alleged student sexual assault gets her job back

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A JCPS school bus on the road in 2016. (WDRB News file photo) A JCPS school bus on the road in 2016. (WDRB News file photo)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Jefferson County Public Schools bus driver who was indefinitely suspended and later terminated for failing to recognize and intervene after a student with special needs was sexually assaulted by another student on a school bus will return to her job.

Phyliss Rabb was suspended without pay on Sept. 27 for the incident that occurred on Sept. 16 while the students were riding the bus. She was later discharged by the district on Oct. 24.

Rabb a grievance to get her job back with the district and the matter went to a mediator, who in turn gave Rabb her job back last week, according to John Stovall, the president of Teamsters Local 783.

"She was wrongly penalized and judged," Stovall said. "Her primary job is to drive the bus, check for hazards on the road and get children to and from school. No one person can be responsible for everything that happens on the bus. That is an impossible task."

According to records obtained by WDRB in an open records request, disciplinary action was taken against both Rabb and Michelle Wilson, who had been employed as a special needs transportation assistant with JCPS. Records show Wilson was fired by the district on Oct. 13. A third employee, a school-based instructional assistant who was assigned to ride the bus that day, resigned.

The disciplinary action taken against Rabb and Wilson involved "an incident of sexual behavior between two students on a special needs bus. The student tried to alert all personnel on the bus to the incident, but none saw the student or recognized the incident."

The students attended Waller-Williams Environmental School. The school on Rockford Lane is for students with severe and profound emotional and/or behavioral disabilities.

An LMPD spokesman confirmed his department was called and investigated "an alleged sexual assault" that occurred on the bus.

Both Rabb and Wilson were assigned to the district's Special Needs East Bus Compound, which is located at 10705 Blue Lick Road, at the time of the incident.

According to her personnel file, Rabb had worked for JCPS since 2002. She received a written reprimand in November 2011 for speeding (she received a citation for driving 72 miles per hour in a 55 MPH speed zone); she also received a written reprimand in January 2008 after she was observed speeding and tailgating another vehicle and a written reprimand in May of 2007 for allowing someone else to punch her time card. 

Rabb could not be reached for comment on Monday.

A spokeswoman for JCPS confirmed on Monday that Rabb has returned to work, but the district was not ordered to pay her back for the time she missed while she grieved her termination. 

This is at least the second time this school year that a bus driver who was recommended to be fired or was fired by the district has gotten their jobs back.

In September, the JCPS bus driver who left a kindergartner unattended on his bus for nearly an hour in August was reassigned as 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 JCPS in another capacity.

On Sept. 19, a district spokeswoman confirmed that Lewis "accepted a voluntary demotion to special needs transportation assistant."

Reporter Antoinette "Toni" Konz can be reached at 585-0838 or @tkonz on Twitter.

Copyright 2016 WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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