FL: Bus Company Settles Discrimination Suit


A company accused of discriminating against Muslim students on a Duval County school bus in October 2003 admitted no wrongdoing but agreed to establish new antidiscrimination training policies and make monetary payments of about $35,000, according to settlement documents. Allegations that an employee of First Student Inc., who was driving a Duval County school bus, forcibly removed the Muslim students from a bus and made derogatory statements on Oct. 29, 2003, were investigated by Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist's Office. According to the January 2005 settlement, First Student Inc. denies that the driver acted in a discriminatory manner and was justified in refusing to drive the students home because the Muslim students posed a threat of imminent danger to the driver.

According to the settlement contract, First Student agreed to have Florida employees do training such as attending a three- to four-hour educational program concerning discrimination at least once a year for five years. Also a section of the Florida Educational Equity Act shall be posted on all First Student school buses operating in Florida. Monetary payments included a $10,000 donation to a Communities in Schools Program that aims to keep children in school, according to the contract. Another $26,885 payment was made to Crist's office for attorney's fees and costs.

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