Saturday, September 29, 2007

Salt Lake's Granite School District Launches Witch-Hunt Against School Bus Driver Who Allegedly Called Latino Teens "Brown Garbage"

A school bus driver employed by the Granite School District is under fire for verbally lashing out at unruly teens aboard his bus, and allegedly using terminology with a "racist" connotation.

According to the Deseret Morning News account of the event, the incident took place on Tuesday September 25th on the way home from school. The driver returned to Bonneville Junior High because of a mechanical problem, and kids on board got rowdy. The bus driver made what District spokesman Randy Ripplinger characterized as inappropriate comments in ordering children off the bus. The driver's name has not been released.

Allegedly, the word "brown" was apparently used, and some students reported they were called "brown garbage" and "brown trash." However, it is quite possible that some of the students might be deliberately racializing the incident in order to escape personal accountability for their misbehavior.

Initially, upon first learned of this incident, the Granite School District responded by giving the driver an employee hearing, after which the driver was reprimanded and reassigned to different duties on Thursday. However, after Latino "community activist" Tony Yapias and a few Latino parents started yapping, District Superintendent Steve Ronnenkampf listened to a student's cell phone recording of the incident and upped the ante on Friday, reopening the "investigation" of the incident. In addition, Ronnenkampf ordered the driver placed on paid leave and stated that the new investigation could result in harsher action, up to and including outright dismissal. It is this additional action by the Superintendent, perceived as caving in to the demands of a non-white race hustler, that turns it into a witch hunt.

And of course, the self-proclaimed "community activist" Tony Yapias said parents of involved Bonneville Junior High students are pleased with the new investigation. "Parents say that should have happened the first day," Yapias said. "The parents are furious about the incident; it was more aggravating after they had learned that (the district) basically reassigned (the driver.)" Yapias also plans to meet with the superintendent Monday and David Gourley, assistant superintendent along with Tom Given, transportation director, also plan to meet with the students next week to hear their side of the story, as well as to introduce them to their new bus driver. No word from District officials on what disciplinary measures, if any, are contemplated against the students who misbehaved on the bus.

One can easily discern from Yapias' remarks that they want the driver fired; if this happens, it will be yet another example of how employers allow themselves to be used as proxy enforcers of political correctness. The Salt Lake Tribune's account of the incident, which otherwise differs little from the Deseret News account, confirms the extremists' objective is to get the driver fired.

However, the account posted by KSL Channel 5 uncovers one significant difference: There is significant doubt that any racial remark was used. The following excerpt from the KSL account shows no indication that the term "brown" was used:

On the audio recorded on a cell phone, a student is heard saying, "You don't have the right to call us garbage!" The bus driver replied, "Shut up! Shut Up!" The student then says, "I didn't do anything!" The bus driver replies, "I don't want to hear anymore out of you!"

There's no doubt every child needs to be disciplined from time to time, but these students, from their bus driver, well, it's just an ugly situation.

The driver is also heard saying, "I've had enough of you people. You're out of line. No good. No good! They are just the worst kids."

This all happened earlier this week on a Granite school district bus. The driver was having mechanical problems, and young Tiffany had her cell phone. As the bus driver was heading back to school and stopped, the students say he just lost it, and Tiffany recorded it.

"Then he points to me and is like, ‘You're a piece of trash too you need to get off this bus,'" Tiffany said,

Now her dad isn't too happy. "They're students, they're kids, they shouldn't be called nothing. Somebody's gotta stick up for the kids," Sammy Pacheco said.

There is no indication from the above account that race was even brought up. However, the KSL account also contains a link to the cell phone audio, accessible either through the KSL website or by clicking HERE. Listen and judge for yourself.

Particularly gratifying is the public response through comments posted to the story on the KSL website (Note: Because of the large number of comments, it may take a minute or two to load). Out of 326 comments as of this post, I would estimate that 90% support the DRIVER. In addition, a significant number of commenters also highlight the racial double standard imposed politically upon the white community nationwide. This strongly implies that the elites who run public education are extremely disconnected from the sentiments of the mainstream community. This makes it appear as if the public education establishment is attempting to impose a sinister alien agenda upon the American public at large. And this is one of the major factors fueling Utah's voucher movement. If the public schools would return to reflecting community standards rather than elite agendas imposed from above, the voucher movement would dwindle into insignificance.

Bus ridership must be viewed as a PRIVILEGE, not a right. Those who misbehave aboard a school bus must have their riding privileges progressively suspended, and, if necessary, permanently revoked. If this imposes hardship on the kid or parents, TOO BAD! We cannot allow a handful of selfish, ungovernable brats to ruin it for the majority of law-abiding kids.

Those who believe the driver is being treated too harshly should e-mail their thoughts to Superintendent Steve Ronnenkampf at Please keep it civil. Consider sending copies of the e-mail to each member of the Granite Board of Education, as follows:

Sarah R. Meier:
Julene M. Jolley:
Terry H. Bawden:
Connie C. Burgess:
Carole E. Cannon:
Gayleen Gandy:
Patricia Sandstrom:

I suggest your e-mail should focus on the cave-in to political correctness, the failure to address student misbehavior on the bus, and how this is fueling the voucher movement in Utah.

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