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Pinellas bus driver may lose her job



A Pinellas bus driver accused of speeding in school zones and talking on the phone while transporting students may lose her job next week.

Superintendent Michael Grego has recommended that Melissa Kirkpatrick, 46, be fired for violating these policies following a suspension for misconduct in April.

According to school board documents, a citizen called in to report Kirkpatrick for speeding in a school zone. The bus's GPS confirmed that she had been going at 16 mph in a 5 mph zone. Further review of the GPS showed that Kirkpatrick "routinely" sped while on her route, whether in school zones, in the bus compound or on typical roads.

The investigation also found that Kirkpatrick did an afternoon run while talking on her cell phone, and did not wear her school bus shirt uniform, both violations of school system policies.

Kirkpatrick said that at times she at times was in a hurry because she "probably had to go to the bathroom." She only talked on her cell phone when she had ear pieces in, she said. Kirkpatrick also said she was not aware she had been speeding and would be more careful. "She apologized for her driving habits and said she will keep her shirt on," according to the documents.

In April, Kirkpatrick was suspended for five days for misconduct. The school board plans to vote on Grego's recommendation at its July 30 meeting. Kirkpatrick has until July 29 to request a public hearing.

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 24, 2013 10:30am]


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