Bus driver fired after racist, sexist comments elected to school board

A Maine bus driver who was fired after making racist and sexist comments won a seat on a regional school board in the state.

Mike Downing was elected earlier this month to the school board to represent Minot after running as a write-in candidate and winning the seat with 31 votes, the Sun Journal reported (Getty Images).

He was fired earlier this year for making racist and sexist comments after serving with the school system for 45 years, according to the Lewiston newspaper.

He admitted to making some of the alleged comments, but has said he doesn’t think he should have been fired over them. His firing was not made public, according to the Journal.

“I don’t mind telling you, when I first decided to (serve on the board), I said, ‘Well, you know, if she gives me a hard time, I’m just going to remind her you used to be my boss and now I’m yours,’” he told the newspaper, referring to Superintendent Tina Meserve.

“But I’m going there with the idea that I’m going to try to make things better, not worse. It’s not a vendetta.”

According to the Journal, Meserve said in the investigation report that it was not possible for Downing to continue working with the school system when “you repeatedly behave this way after being told that it’s not acceptable and that doing so again could cost you your job.”

Downing had faced other consequences over his language. He received a warning for allegedly using a slur to refer to gay men and was suspended in 2015 after referring to a student as a “moron,” the Journal reported

He was reportedly fired earlier this year after he called Martin Luther King Jr. Day “National (racial epithet) Day” when talking with co-workers.

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link: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/380603-bus-driver-who-was-fired-after-making-racist-sexist-comments

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