Louisiana Bus Driver Loses Job After Making George Floyd Comment to Black Child

A Louisiana school bus driver has lost her job after making a racially insensitive comment about George Floyd to a Black student boarding the bus.

The comment was reported to the school system by Rose Gabriel on behalf of her 11-year-old son, Rashad, after she noticed something was wrong when her sixth grader got off his school bus on April 9.

"He said, 'Mom, the bus driver said something to me that was racist,'" Gabriel told WWL-TV.

Rashad told his mom that the bus driver scolded him after his face mask fell below his nose. The Black student said that he was out of breath from trying to catch the bus that morning to Trist Middle School.

Gabriel said the white bus driver told her son, "Since George Floyd, that's what you all say, but I don't see a knee on your neck."

Floyd died last May after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes as Floyd was handcuffed. Floyd repeatedly told officers he couldn't breathe. On Tuesday, Chauvin was convicted by a jury of murder and manslaughter.

Gabriel said she was shocked and asked Rashad if he was certain that's what was said to him.

"He said, 'Yeah, all the kids on the bus heard it,'" she recalled.

Not only was the comment heard by other children on the bus, the driver's remarks were recorded by the school bus' camera.

St Bernard Parish School Bus
A student waits for her St. Bernard Parish United School bus to leave the school campus after the first day of classes following Hurricane Katrina, on November 14, 2005, in New Orleans. A St. Bernard Parish bus driver lost her job after making a comment about George Floyd to a Black student earlier this month. Benjamin Lowy/Getty

"I just started crying. Because she, excuse me, she tried to make my son feel like he is not supposed to be where he was," Gabriel said. "Don't make him feel inferior. He's not inferior to nothing. He's equal to any of those students on that bus."

"I get chills right now. It hurt me. It hurt me," she added.

The next week, Gabriel drove her son to school to avoid the driver and reported the incident to the school. The driver admitted to making those comments, and the matter quickly reached School Superintendent Doris Voitier, who quickly announced the driver would no longer work for St. Bernard Parish School District.

"She no longer works for our school system," Voitier told WWL-TV. "I can't defend that. I don't condone that. What she said is offensive and inappropriate. It was racially insensitive. And we took appropriate action."

Voitier did not clarify whether the driver was fired or if she chose to resign.

"It made me relieved that I know she's no longer on the bus with my son or anybody else's child," Gabriel said about the decision.

Newsweek reached out to Voitier for further comment but did not hear back before publication.