Heather Vidito has become something of a cause célèbre
Vidito is the school bus driver who, according to her friends,
has been fired by Stock Transportation for her F-bomb laced tirade aimed at
stopping a group of students from fighting on her bus. The altercation was
filmed on a student's cellphone and posted to YouTube.
Nova Scotians are rallying to support Vidito.
The comments all seem to boil down to this: driving a school bus is a
crappy job and her reaction, profanity included, to a bunch of disrespectful
"punks" was exactly how any of us would have reacted. In fact, many say they
wouldn't have been as restrained. They say the kids should be disciplined and
Vidito given a pat on the back.
Many attacked Doug Hadley, the spokesman for the Halifax Regional School
Board, for his comments that it was "very disturbing to see that type of
language being used by a driver."
Hadley said he stands by his comments.
"People are more than welcome to express their opinion," said Hadley. "From
our standpoint, none of the actions or use of language is appropriate for anyone
involved, and I would hope that regardless of the situation a person wouldn't
speak to anyone using that language, whether it's a police officer, whether it's
a teacher or a coach."
Or a bus driver.
Hadley said the students involved have been disciplined under the board's
code of conduct, but he won't say how. The board won't comment on Vidito's
status because she is an employee of Stock Transportation and they are saying
little about the matter.
That leaves a number of unanswered questions.
Was this the first time Vidito was involved in something like this on her
bus? Have there been previous complaints about her behaviour? Did she react the
way she did because, as reported, her son was one of the kids fighting?
Does Stock provide Vidito, and all the other drivers, with conflict
resolution training and is it adequate? If there was trouble on this route
before, why wasn't there a monitor on the bus so Vidito's only responsibility
would be to concentrate on driving the kids home safely?
The Stock Transportation bus drivers are represented by the NSGEU and it is now involved in Vidito's
case. This will, no doubt, go to arbitration or some other form of hearing, and
it's quite possible Vidito will eventually get her job back.
In the meantime the debate rages online, with just about everyone taking a
strong opinion on one side or the other, even though none of us has all the
facts.UPDATE FRIDAY 3:20PM:
Stock Transportation just issued this statement confirming Vidito has been fired for "a clear breach of policies and procedures regarding student management."
Read the complete statement here: Stock Statement.pdf