Carmel bus driver accused of harassing student for anti-gay remarks
Chris Proffitt/Eyewitness News
Carmel - She's the bus driver that preaches tolerance:
"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.
"That's not someone looking out for someone. That's someone out to get somebody," said Dr. Zimmer.
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."
The Zimmers demanded that the school district fire the driver, but nothing has been done. They then filed suit against the district in December, alleging that the driver harassed and caused emotional distress to their middle school daughter.
"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.
Neither the driver nor the school district will comment citing the pending lawsuit.