Florida bus driver has history of bias say students
The Florida office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-FL) today revealed that the driver who recently prevented Muslim children from boarding a school bus in Jacksonville had allegedly engaged in similar discriminatory behavior several times in the past. The Islamic civil rights group made that claim after completing a preliminary investigation into the incidents.
CAIR-FL has also been notified that the office of the Florida Attorney General is initiating an investigation into these complaints.
On Friday, October 31, CAIR-FL called for an investigation of two incidents in which some 20 Muslim middle school students were either removed from or kept from boarding school buses in Jacksonville, Fla.
Some of those involved in the incidents now tell CAIR-FL that the driver kept Muslim students from boarding the bus on several previous occasions. On each of those occasions, after reluctantly picking up the Muslim students, the driver allegedly turned the bus around mid-route and brought the children back to the school before ordering them off the bus.
Only after intervention from school staff were the children allowed to remain on the bus and be driven home. The Muslim students also allege that the bus driver frequently directed profanity at them.
“It is unconscionable that those in positions of authority took no action to prevent this harassment and intimidation,” said Altaf Ali, executive director of CAIR-FL. “The behavior of this bus driver should be repudiated in the strongest possible terms, followed by disciplinary actions.”
The students also vehemently denied the bus company’s claim that they were being “riotous” on the bus. In fact, two of the 20 students on the bus had reportedly raised their hands and asked the driver why she did not pick up siblings who were left behind at the school.
CAIR-FL is demanding that the Duval County School District investigate this new information thoroughly and hold the bus company accountable for the improper acts of its drivers. The group is also calling on relevant local, state and federal agencies to join the investigation of the complaints.
To date, the Duval County School board and the bus company have not offered an explanation as to why another bus driver refused to pick the same group of Muslim students from their bus stop on Friday, October 31.
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and has 25 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada.