School bus driver out amid outrage spurred by 4 On Your Side

Posted at: 11/26/2013 7:52 PM
By: Ryan Luby, KOB Eyewitness News 4

She’s out.  The school bus driver, who’s accused of letting strangers ride her bus, who reportedly made threatening and sexual comments to students, said she no longer wants to work for Beal Bus Company.

Denny Beal, owner of the company, confirmed Sonya Garcia’s resignation on Tuesday.

Garcia is the subject of an internal investigation by Albuquerque Public Schools and district police after 4 On Your Side found more than three dozen student complaints about her.

Garcia refused to speak with the team when confronted earlier this month.

After 4 On Your Side aired its initial story on Monday, a number of parents questioned why Beal Bus Company still has a contract with Albuquerque Public Schools.

“I think there should be a zero tolerance because the kids are in there.  We trust that our kids are going to be safe,” Josh Tafoya said.

His first-grade daughter attends Ventana Ranch Elementary School.

Late last year, Tafoya captured cell phone video of a Beal Bus Company school bus driving nearly 70 miles per hour on Paseo del Norte – well over the posted speed limit.

In March, he recorded cell phone video of himself confronting another Beal Bus Company driver for wearing headphones with driving her bus.  She claimed she wasn’t.

Given what Tafoya watched on KOB Eyewitness News 4, he’s concerned that the company and Albuquerque Public Schools aren’t doing enough to prioritize student safety on school buses.

“This is a company where there have been previous incidents that are unacceptable and this is -- it's not any better,” Tafoya said.

Beal confirmed that he spoke with the speeding bus driver not long after the incident occurred and that the driver hasn’t caused a problem since.

Top-level administrators within Albuquerque Public Schools have dismissed every request from 4 On Your Side to address the concerns on-camera – including the concerns raised about Sonya Garcia.

However, the district issued a statement on Monday which states that staff, in part, “deal with allegations of misconduct or inappropriate behavior on school buses swiftly, using progressive discipline and due process.”