ROGERSVILLE, Tenn. — A former school bus driver here was awarded nearly $97,000 in a lawsuit claiming she was unfairly fired for leaving a student on her bus.

The school bus incident occurred on Jan. 13, 2015. According to the Kingsport Times-News, a 6-year-old student was left on Loretta Depew’s bus at the end of her route, and a neighbor later found the child walking down the road.

Depew asserted that she inspected the bus but didn’t see the child, who she said was hiding, the Kingsport Times-News reports. The school district, Hawkins County Schools, maintained that the student was sleeping and that Depew failed to perform a post-trip inspection, which endangered the student. The district fired Depew on Jan. 28, 2015.

The Rogersville Review reports that Depew filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against Hawkins County Schools in which she claimed that a male school bus driver had left a student on his bus a year and a half earlier, and the district suspended but did not fire him.

According to The Greeneville Sun, Hawkins County Schools countered that gender discrimination was not a factor, but that the two incidents occurred and were dealt with during the tenures of two different directors of the school district.

On Thursday, a jury decided the case in favor of Depew and awarded her $96,830, which includes lost wages and benefits, damages, and attorney fees.

About the author
Thomas McMahon

Thomas McMahon

Executive Editor

Thomas had covered the pupil transportation industry with School Bus Fleet since 2002. When he's not writing articles about yellow buses, he enjoys running long distances and making a joyful noise with his guitar.

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