Alex Blaze

Bus driver teaches a lesson about acceptance, gets sued

Filed By Alex Blaze | May 27, 2010 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: betty campbell, bus driver, ed zimmer, gay marriage, indiana

It's rare that I see my home town in the LGBT news, but here it is. I guess I should have ridden the bus in school instead of always walking or biking. Sounds exciting:

"If you can't believe in tolerance toward one another, you don't belong here. You belong in a parochial church school," said Carmel School Bus Driver Betty Campbell.

But the parents of a young Carmel Clay student say that Campbell took the message too far when she berated their daughter for her anti-abortion beliefs and opposition to gay marriage. They allege that harassment of their daughter began long before an incident recorded by a bus camera in November 2008.

"I don't want to hear one more word about anyone going to hell if they are gay or if they're Buddhist or whatever, 'cause it's none of your damn business," Campbell is heard saying on the tape.

Dr. Ed Zimmer, the girl's father, says that exchange never took place. The driver accused Zimmer's daughter Rachel of telling a fellow student that his brother would go to hell because he's gay.

But this is where the story gets fun:

And then there's this exchange with an African-American student on the bus:

Campbell: "If she says anything racial to you, I want to know about it 'cause I'm going to eat her alive. I mean it."

Student response: "I don't actually know 'cause I don't listen to her at all."

Campbell: "Well, you're a smart guy and Rachel is a stupid little bigot."

The driver is then seen on tape in an empty bus a short time later with Rachel and her sister, lecturing the girl about her opinion on gay marriage.

Rachel: "I never said that."

Campbell: "Yes, you have. Repeatedly."

LOL. I love this lady!

But the father's suing:

"I don't think there's a school district in the world that would look at the words that were used in front of a child, that we have on video with this bus driver and some are the worst you can use, and condone that," said Dr. Zimmer.

The girl's parents say it was a lesson in diversity that went too far, and will now let a jury decide who was right.

Yes, that's the problem with Carmel. Diversity training has gone too far. I went to high school there with around 3800 white classmates, 18 black classmates, and about two hundred or so of everyone else. The diversity training I remember consisted of telling us that the Roman Empire fell because they allowed gays in the military and that, except for that little Jim Crow thing, the 1950's were the absolute best period of time in history and everyone in America agrees it was because people were just more moral.

That doesn't stop parents from thinking that the town is getting too PC, though; one guy I worked for there complained that there were too many minorities in his daughter's Spanish text book. You just can't make this stuff up.

And those aren't the "worst you can use" when it comes to words. There are much worse. A jury will sort it out, and there are probably more tactful ways that the driver could have handled the situation. I don't know - I wasn't there.

But I'm guessing the father is one of those dudes who sits around complaining about silly lawsuits until he feels that he or someone in his family has had his honor insulted and suddenly he's in court looking for a buck. This country is full of them. Especially if the help gets uppity and talks back to daddy's little girl, who was probably just parroting what she picked up at home anyway.

You gotta wonder if this is how Carrie Prejean started out.


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I'm of two minds here. On the one hand, aces to the driver for calling the kid out and telling her off. On the other...there are these things called tact and diplomacy. Verbally attacking the kid doesn't do anyone any favors and actively hunting out reasons to go after the kid isn't either.
It's one thing to say "If someone says something rude to you, let me know and I'll handle it". It's another to say what the driver said. Especially to a kid.

I'd send Betty through remedial bus driver training immediately. She is paid to drive safely and keep some semblance of order not to teach.

JonathonEdwards | May 27, 2010 6:35 PM

Stopping anti-gay and racist harrasment would seem to me to fall under the category of keeping "some semblance of order". Or is the Pax Carmel only for the privileged classes?

Sigh. The class issue here is so obvious, and since Carmel doesn't have a courthouse that handles jury trials, at least some outsiders might be able to see it.

For people who don't know, bus drivers in Carmel usually come from surrounding rural areas and are probably the only people without a college degree these kids see on a regular basis. The "Dr." suing this bus driver surely is aware of that dynamic, and that's probably what exacerbated the situation. Whether she should or should not have gotten mad at this kid, or used that language, it is strange that she's now getting sued for causing "emotional distress."

Anyway, there are some working and middle class people in Carmel too, not to erase them. But this doesn't look like them.

Jonathon in my opinion you also could benefit from remedial bus driver training. There is a time and place for everything. No it is not keeping "some semblance of order" for a bus driver to lecture much less threaten children over values.

Well it is refreshing to find that the educated can be bigots too. It is not just for the under educated red necks.

I live on the very southwest corner of Carmel - actually Clay Township. One thing I like about my subdivision is that it is totally diverse! There are many families from countries all over the world. My next-door neighbors on one side are from Shanghai, and the others are from India. I don't know much about Carmel High School because we moved here after my son graduated. But I'm happy that I don't live in a "white-bread" neighborhood.

Her methods were inappropriate. It's borderline bullying, ironic considering her intent was to stamp out perceived verbal bullying.

You don't need to be infantile and confrontational with a child who's obviously a walking brain-washing at the hands of her neanderthal parents.

As simple "This is a diverse place and we accept

Ugh, Comcast.

Anyways, the endpart to that is "everybody; so if you have an issue with that, talk with your parents about a transfer to an institution that is not opposed to prejudice."

Saying you're gonna eat a child alive and persecuting the child is NOT OK, under any means.

Of course, the lawsuit is way out of proportion, and true to the nature of the monsters who have perverted this child.

While it's nice to see an adult step in to stop anti-gay abuse and bullying, at the same time she could have used much better language to express her point.

How odd that this bus video isn't being kept from the public or gone 'missing'. Guess that only happens when the bus is full of basketball coaches/adults who are suppose to be in-charge but are not. :(

Poor little Missy, I'm sure she'll need therapy for years!

William Butler | June 2, 2010 12:59 AM

Anyone who gets ANY kind of satisfaction from the bus driver's behavior is certifibly insane and also outright evil. It goes to show how perverse homosexual advocates can be.

You really think that an adult calling a minor child "a stupid little bigot" and trying to incite other students into labeling the targetted student as a racist is a good thing?

Do you really think it is a bus driver's responsibility to indoctrinate and intimidate any child that doesn't have a politically correct viewpoint?

Furthermore, the bus driver going back at the end of the drive and telling the students to get back on the bus so she could read them the riot act was an unauthorized use of school property and I believe a felony as well.

This bus driver should be fired, and sent to jail. What happened to that child was a travesty, and I completely support the father in suing the school. The author of this blog couldn't be more wrong on this issue.

William Butler

Seriously, you "love this lady?" You have some severe emotional problems, in that case. She verbally attacked a young child. It doesn't matter what the topic is, that was completely inappropriate. And I'm not saying that as some right-wing religious nut --- I'm a lesbian.

Betty Campbell, the bus driver, is an adult and a seriously emotionally disturbed bully. If she had been truly interested in addressing the issue of perceived bigotry and the potential for resulting upset on her bus, she would have reported it to school authorities and they would have handled it with the parents and the child. This behavior is unacceptable. It is not a bus driver's job or her right to berate a child in her care. Her job is to drive the damned bus safely, keep order and to report to school authorities anyone who gets out of line. Period.

Here's what you don't seem to get: when you cheer on psychos like this school bus driver, you perpetuate the stereotype of the in-your-face, bullying, intolerant queer that keeps us from being accepted by the straight world at large. This woman was just wrong to attack a child. It doesn't matter that her message was right. Why can't you see that?

I hope Betty Campbell costs Carmel school district millions in settlement money. They were stupid not to reprimand her severely and then bring her in to apologize to the girl and her parents, if not fire her.

And by the way, school bus drivers coming from rural districts or the lower-to-lower-middle class is hardly a news revelation.

The last two comments are precisely why I find it hard to go totally against the bus driver here.

1. Why is this lawsuit taking place now.

2. This situation could have happened with any issue. My guess is that if it was about anything but being gay, the parents wouldn't be suing and the issue wouldn't be getting that much attention.

If necessary, the driver should be reprimanded but the child - if she told another child that his brother is going to hell - shouldn't be seen as an innocent victim. Some sites say that she was "merely expressing her Christian beliefs."

Now come on. We all knw that's a cop-out.

I think it's interesting that "tolerance" is preached by this bus driver (and others on this blog) but is not practiced by any. If this was a gay child who was lectured by a Christian that his beliefs were wrong and that bus driver went back to his home and loaded him on the bus and berated him, every LGBT organization in the world would be on the school to fire that bus driver. (rightly so). What this driver did is completely out of line, if she wants to further her cause she needs to do it through an appropriate venue and not bully children. Not to mention her "logic" for gay marriage is completely inaccurate. Same sex people don't have to be married to leave their money to one another, they simply need to have a will. Everyone except this misinformed and misguided bus driver knows that.

It is unfortunate this woman sees herself as enlightened and what I consider to be a pretty initelligent community (LGBT) as backing this type of behavior.