Clay County Schools in West Virginia is investigating a bus driver who allegedly used an anti-gay slur.
Community members told the local NBC affiliate that the bus driver directed the slur at the student.
Superintendent Joe Paxton confirmed that the school “administration is investigating the allegations, and will do so thoroughly.”
“Administration always takes allegations of this nature serious, and in doing so, administration takes the investigation serious versus rushing to prejudgment,” he continued, stressing that all staff are “expected to provide a safe and welcoming learning environment for all of our students, “free from harassment, intimidation, bullying, and free from bias and discrimination.”
On Tuesday morning, September 5th, 2017, an openly gay student from Clay County High School in Clay, West Virginia, boarded the school bus of part-time driver, Robert Belt, and sat down beside another student.
Allegedly, Robert Belt, also a full-time Clay County Sheriff Deputy, dressed in full uniform, announced over the bus PA system, “No faggot activity will be permitted on this bus. In my Bible it states that ‘faggots will burn in Hell,’ and I will not condone it.”
On Friday, September 8th, 2017, a Clay County high school parent learned of the incident and voiced her concerns to the Clay County High School Vice Principal, Alan Tanner. Initially, Vice Principal Tanner stated, “I don’t know what you are talking about,” however, when pressed Principal Tanner said that he had reported the incident to the Clay County Director of Transportation, Jared Fitzwater.
The concerned parent discovered from the victim Leslie Osborne, Clay County school counselor, had taken three statements from students present on the bus. Currently, Deputy Robert Belt continues to drive for the Clay County School system and is continuing to perform his official duties as Clay County Sheriff Deputy.
A recent report by GLSEN showed LGBTQ students are more likely to face harassment and bullying than their heterosexual, cisgender counterparts, which often results in long-term emotional effects.