Joey Hartlaub, 12, of New Berlin, Wis. (courtesy Fox6)
An 81-year-old school-bus driver in Wisconsin who had a spotless record has been fired from her job after allegedly telling a 12-year-old boy he should have been aborted because he supports Mitt Romney for president.
The victim of the comments was Joey Hartlaub, a seventh-grader in New Berlin, Wis., whose family has posted a Romney-Ryan sign in their front yard.
Fox6 in Milwaukee reports the boy had been harassed for weeks, but he was called to the front of the bus recently when he and others were chanting, “Romney, Romney” from the back of the bus.
“She kind of yelled at us, and told me to come up front,” Hartlaub told the station.
“I said that Obama’s pro-abortion. She said, ‘Well, then maybe your mother should have chosen abortion for you.’”
“I did not think it would go that far. It made me feel mad and sad the whole time,” Joey added. “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.”
The boy’s mother was incensed when she found out.
“I’m like, ‘Oh my goodness! You did not just get told that from a bus driver!’” Debbie Ann Hartlaub said. “It was verbal abuse against a child.”
She reported the driver’s remarks 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.
Blaine Kraige, a spokesman for Durham School Services, issued a statement saying: “Durham immediately removed the driver from service pending an investigation, which resulted in the termination of the driver. 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.”
Reporter Ashley Sears of Fox6 spoke with the bus driver by phone, and quoted the driver as saying, “There is a lot of confusion, and everyone is trusting the words of a little boy.”