Driver fired after video shows him using phone while driving bus with OPS students on board

A school bus driver has been fired after video circulated of him using a cellphone for more than two minutes while driving a bus with children on board.

The students were from Norris Middle School. The parents of the students are being notified, said Omaha Public Schools spokeswoman Monique Farmer. Administrators are speaking to the students who were on board.

The driver had been driving buses for Student Transportation of America for two years before “his employment was canceled,” Farmer said.

Using a cellphone while driving a school bus is automatic grounds for termination, according to OPS.

“We take the safety of our students very seriously. STA has taken immediate action to ensure this bus driver will no longer drive for Omaha Public Schools or the company,” Farmer said in a statement on behalf of the district and the bus company.

It wasn’t clear when exactly the video was shot but, “we became aware of it (Tuesday) morning and addressed it immediately with STA,” Farmer said in a separate interview.

Exactly what the driver was doing is not clear. The video shows him looking at the phone in his right hand while steering the bus with his left hand. At various points, he taps on the phone, and he momentarily puts it up to his right ear.

The driver could not be reached for comment.

All drivers are trained in safety when they are hired. The company reads a daily safety message over the two-way radio each day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon, the district said.

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