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Polk school bus manager fired for cover-up following death of student trying to catch bus

Posted at 6:34 PM, Dec 13, 2016

One of the school employees in charge of bus stops for Polk County is out of a job after her bosses say she lied about changing the bus route for a teenager hours after he died crossing a busy road to catch the bus.

The 17-year school employee, Brenda Young, went before the school board Tuesday morning to plea her case.

She insisted that she changed the route for Kalen Kirk and other students to try and prevent another tragedy.

Kirk was hit and killed this past spring while trying to cross busy Clubhouse Rd. Hours after finding out, Young’s bosses claim she panicked and went into the system changed the bus stop so it looked like Kirk and others never had to cross the road.

“There’s nothing I could do for that student, but I know that there were other students and it’s my job that kids are at the correct bus stop,” she said.

Young’s bosses tell a different tale, saying she told them from the get go that “none of my students cross the road,” and then tried to cover it up.

“You have to trust the supervisors that are dealing with 7,000 (to) 8,000 students on a daily basis, and I don’t have that trust,” said Rob Davis, Director of Support Services for Polk Schools.

Late Tuesday morning, the board unanimously agreed to fire Young, despite her passionate plea.

She left with her family in tears, right after telling us she was the scapegoat for an accident she had no part of.

“I’m upset that the accident happened. There’s nothing I could do to change what happened in that accident,” she said.

Seven months after the tragedy, the county is still trying to figure out how to make the road safer for everyone.

One step, also approved by commissioners Tuesday, is to change the speed limit from 45 to 40 miles per hour.

After all the controversy, the school district stuck with the changes Young made so no other child has to cross the road to catch the bus.