WESTFIELD – Westfield Public Schools Transportation Director Pamela Kotarski responded to a request for comment about a complaint posted on a Westfield Facebook forum about a school bus driver’s actions. She also spoke about the procedure to follow if someone has a complaint.
“In regards to the complaint that was posted on Facebook, it wasn’t until someone made me aware that it was on Facebook that I knew that there was an issue on this bus,” Kotarski said, adding, “When someone has an issue with a bus driver they should be contacting my office, not the bus company.”
Kotarski said once she was made aware of the post, she immediately called the bus company and spoke with the office manager. “The office manager confirmed that a parent had called [that] morning about the driver speaking inappropriately to the students on the bus. The office manager told the parent she couldn’t review the video tape until [the next day] and that she would also speak with the driver. Once she completed her investigation, the office manager stated she would call the parent back,” she said.
Kotarski said when her office receives a complaint about a bus driver, the normal process would be for her to immediately contact the office manager at the bus company and request the audio/visual tape. She also requests that the office manager meet with the driver to discuss the alleged incident. “Once I review the tape and have further conversation with the office manager, I would then call the parent who has made the complaint and discuss the findings,” she said.
Asked what the procedure is regarding inappropriate behavior of students on a bus, Kotarski said the normal procedure is for the bus driver to complete a bus conduct report and submit it to the building principal. “The principal has the authority to determine the consequences, not the bus driver,” she said.
Kotarski also said she has not received any previous complaints pertaining to the bus driver mentioned in the post.
Kotarski may be contacted at the transportation office, 59 Court St., in City Hall at (413) 572-6599 or by email at [email protected]