Driver who seated blacks at back of school bus to retire
9/6/2006, 7:18 a.m. CT
The Associated Press
COUSHATTA, La. (AP) — A northwestern Louisiana school bus driver who was suspended for seating black children in the back of her bus will be allowed to retire effective Oct. 4.
Deloris Davis, who will have been employed with the Red River Parish School District for 25 years on that date, offered her retirement, through her attorney, in a letter handed to Superintendent Kay Easley minutes before the start of Tuesday night's parish school board meeting meeting.
The board voted 4-3 to accept the retirement.
Iva Richmond, whose 14- and 15-year-old children were on the bus, said last month that her children had ridden with a black bus driver in previous years, but their bus assignment changed this year. When the new school year started, the white driver told them she had assigned them seats, with the black children at the back of the bus.
Richmond said she complained to a local principal, who told the driver that if any children were assigned to seats, all would have to be. The next week, the driver assigned black students to two seats in the back of the bus, Richmond said.
Board attorney Jon Guice said Davis had no record of previous reprimands. He also said that Easley investigated the complaints and believes Davis' actions were not motivated by race. He said Davis contended that the nine black children were the last ones to get on the bus on her route.
Some at the Tuesday meeting were unhappy with the decision to allow Davis to retire. The crowd overflowed the 49-seat meeting room and when the decision was announced to those standing outside, it was met with shouts such as "Fire the superintendent" and "Do we pay for her to retire?"
Information from: Alexandria Daily Town Talk, http://www.thetowntalk.com