Darren Doyle, story
Superintendent of Edmonson County Schools Patrick Waddell says a Facebook post from the account of someone named Mark Allen Johnson claiming an Edmonson County school bus driver was consuming alcohol on the job is completely false.
The post has been shared almost 1000 times at the time of this article.
Supt. Waddell said the Edmonson County Board of Education received a phone call from Johnson around 10AM yesterday that accused the bus driver of parking a county school bus at Chuck Evans Liquor on Louisville Road. According to Waddell, the caller said he saw the driver go into the liquor store and come out with a package. Waddell said the caller then claimed he saw the driver consume alcohol while sitting in the bus. The superintendent said the caller also told the board that he had photos and video of the incident.
"I was on a conference call when the board secretary came in my office and told me what was going on," said Waddell. "I ended my phone call and within one minute or less I had made contact with our bus garage, had contacted the driver, and we had a plan in place."
That plan, according to Mr. Waddell, was to immediately suspend the driver and ordered the driver to cease her duties on the spot. A replacement driver, school officials, and Edmonson County Sheriff School Resource Officer Jeff Brooks responded immediately and soon arrived at the site of the bus, which was parked at the Subway next door, not Chuck Evans, according to Waddell.
"The driver was eating a Subway sandwich and drinking a Sprite," said Waddell. "The driver also denied consuming any alcohol but was immediately transported to our driver training facility to undergo an immediate alcohol test, as per school policy. The test will show whether or not any type of alcohol or drugs have been consumed over the past 24 hours and the test came back negative. Had there been any indication of a positive result, the driver would have been put in law enforcement custody for a breathalizer and other tests, but that did not happen."
Deputy Brooks said the driver admitted to purchasing a bottle of wine from the liquor outlet to consume later, but the bottle had not been opened as the orginal seal had not been broken.
The superintendent said the photos in the post did not show the bus at the liquor store and the caller never provided any other photos or videos as he said.
Waddell said he could not comment on disciplinary actions taken by the school board but confirmed that the driver was no longer employed by the schoool system.
"The reports of the driver drinking while on the job are completely false," he said. "I don't believe there is a single driver in our school system that would ever consider doing so. People trust me and this school system to put the safety of our kids first, and that's what we did here.
Comments from the account on the original post claimed it was over two hours before the school called him back but Waddell said that was also false.
"We responded almost immediately," he said.
The name of the driver was not released, no arrests were made, and no charges were filed. The driver had transported students from the county to Bowling Green for a field trip.
"It's an unfortunate incident, but at no time were any of our students in any danger whatsoever," said Waddell. "You hear about 'fake news' having an impact on national issues or how it can spread on sites like Facebook, but you don't think about it having such a negative effect right here. It's just very unfortunate."