DOVER, Tenn. — Stewart County Schools bus driver Bruce Siders lost his job last week for refusing to take a drug and alcohol test after being involved in a minor fender bender here, The Leaf-Chronicle reports.
Stewart County Schools Transportation Supervisor Eric Watkins told the newspaper that no one was injured in the accident as Siders was taking students home from school. However, as Siders was being transported to WorkForce Essentials for the mandatory drug and alcohol screening dictated by school board policy following any bus accident, he called Watkins and said he could not take the test, according to The Leaf-Chronicle.
Although Watkins told the newspaper he could not discuss whether or not Siders provided a reason for his refusal of the test, he said that Siders had previously passed his pre-employment drug and alcohol test, as well as random tests given throughout employment. Additionally, Tennessee Highway Patrol Officer Caleb Cooper did not issue a citation to Siders, telling Watkins that the driver gave no indication that he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time, according to the newspaper. After consultation, Leta Joiner, director of schools for Stewart County Schools, terminated Siders’ employment, the newspaper reports.
Watkins told The Leaf-Chronicle that federal regulations on school bus drivers do not require a drug and alcohol test after a non-fatal accident, but school board policy is permitted to be stricter than federal regulations. He added that the number of students on Siders’ route had decreased considerably, and the district is planning to shift those students to three other routes.
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