An administrator dressed down Hancock Middle School students whose parents had called to complain about a hot school bus, a tirade caught on video and posted to Facebook shows.
The video has been shared more than 200 times and generated plenty of opinions about how Transportation Director Michael Ladner handled the situation. Most commenters were not pleased with what they saw.
Superintendent Alan Dedeaux said the video was shot Wednesday after students boarded the bus to ride home. Dedeaux said he has received several complaints about the heat on this particular bus and is working on solutions.
In the video, Ladner stands at the front of the bus, in silhouette. The video is shot from the back of the bus.
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“I’ve had about — whewww — 40 phone calls from people’s parents on this bus, complaining about what?” Ladner asked.
Murmurs, but no clear answers, can be heard.
“I can hook y’all up. I can hook you up. I’ve got a (number) 206 bus back there —14 years older than this bus — no air conditioning. You can have it all year long. Trust me. You don’t want it.
“I know it’s hot. This is not your home air conditioning. It’s not going to cool as much as home. It’ll never be 70 degrees in this bus.”
He said he wasn’t sweating, and he didn’t see any of the children sweating, either.
“It ain’t that bad on here, but y’all going home and telling your parents how bad it is,” he said. “It’s going to get worse if I give you that other bus. That’s the only other option.”
He told the children they should not let their windows down because the bus would take even longer to cool off.
And he says they shouldn’t be jumping around “like idiots,” or creating more hot air by talking loud.
He reminds the students temperatures will cool down after Labor Day.
“We’re going to have some hot days,” he says. “This is South Mississippi. Anybody here live in North Dakota? If you don’t want to live in hot weather, you need to move north.”
The mother who posted the video, Kellie Underwood, wrote in the Facebook comments: “My issue isn’t even with the AC. They will survive without it.
“My issue is not allowing them to put the windows down ... and now the way he handled the situation. No response to the parents, but address the kids in this manner? I think not.”
School Superintendent Alan Dedeaux said he heard about the video Thursday morning.
“I did view the video,” he said. “We’re really still gathering some information. We’re trying to gather everything we can, then we’ll deal with it.”
“It’s a personnel issue. It’s not a whole lot I can go into.”
He also said the district will not wait for the weather to cool off before doing something about the bus — the only one of 80 that he has received complaints about.
The 2007-model bus, which has two air conditioners, was blowing out air at 49 degrees in front and 51 degrees in back. The temperature in the bus was in the mid-80s after running for 10 minutes, Dedeaux said.
He said the driver will begin running the air for 10 minutes before students are released from school. But because of safety concerns and diesel fumes, the driver is required to turn off the bus while students board.
He said the district does operate a few buses without air conditioning and is replacing old buses as money allows.