A white woman in Louisiana lost her job as a bus driver after she made a racist remark to a Black student who boarded her bus panting.
As reported by WWL-TV, 11-year-old Rashad Gabriel ran to catch the bus to Trist Middle School in St. Bernard Parish on April 9. When he finally got on the bus, the white woman reportedly scolded him for having his mask below his nose. The preteen explained that he was out of breath, to which the bus driver replied, “Since George Floyd, that’s what you all say, but I don’t see a knee on your neck.”
Gabriel told his mother, Rose, about the comment — which was heard by other bus riders and captured on the bus’ camera — and she reported the incident to the media.
“I just started crying. Because she….excuse me,” said the victim’s mother. “Don’t make him feel inferior. He’s not inferior to nothing. He’s equal to any of those students on that bus.”
Since getting wind of the driver’s comments, the school’s Superintendent Doris Voitier took action, later revealing her current status at the Louisiana school.
“She no longer works for our school system,” Voitier said in a telephone interview. “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.” The superintendent did not reveal whether the bus driver was fired or resigned, noting it is a personnel matter.
“It made me relieved that I know she’s no long[er] on the bus with my son or anybody else’s child,” Gabriel’s mother said of the driver’s departure.
The white woman’s racist comment was ironically made during the murder trial for Derek Chauvin, the officer who placed his knee on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds amid his arrest. He has since been convicted on all counts and taken to Minnesota Correctional Facility-Oak Park Heights, where he awaits sentencing for second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.