New Berlin school bus driver loses job following political argument with boy

NEW BERLIN —  An 81-year-old New Berlin school bus driver lost her job following a heated political debate with a 12-year-old boy.

Joey Hartlaub says an argument with his bus driver crossed the line.

“I did not think it would go that far. It made me feel mad and sad the whole time,” Hartlaub said.

Hartlaub, a seventh-grader, says he and his friend were chanting “Romney, Romney” from the back of the bus.

“She kind of yelled at us, and told me to come up front,” Hartlaub said.

When Hartlaub told the bus driver he feels President Barack Obama is pro-abortion, the bus driver reportedly responded by saying: “Well, maybe your mother should have chosen an abortion for you!”

“I’m like, ‘oh my goodness! You did not just get told that from a bus driver!'” Debbie Ann Hartlaub, Joey’s mother said.

Debbie Ann Hartlaub says the political argument was weeks in the making. She says the bus driver started harassing the seventh-grader about a Romney-Ryan sign put in his family’s front yard.

“It was verbal abuse against a child,” Debbie Ann Hartlaub said.

Joey’s mother went to Durham School Services — the company responsible for operating the school buses.

“When I told them what had happened, I could’ve picked their jaws off the ground. I just wanted to keep her away from all students,” Debbie Ann Hartlaub said.

Durham removed the bus driver, and following an investigation, terminated her. In a statement, the company said: “Prior to this incident, the driver had an incident-free record while serving the community as a Durham school bus driver for more than 20 years. Notwithstanding, the driver`s remark was insensitive and inappropriate.”

“I don’t know if this is the first time she’s done something like this. I just hope she doesn’t do it to another kid,” Joey Hartlaub said.

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