(KCPW News) An on-call bus driver for Salt Lake City School District has lost his job after driving fifth-grade students to the federal courthouse, where Tim DeChristopher is on trial. Ryan Pleune says he wanted the students to see democracy in action yesterday by observing the protesters outside.
“I’m an educator. I’m a trained teacher. I taught at East High School for three years, I taught at City Academy for one,” he told KCPW. “And so as an educator, I wanted to share some relevant learning and some real life experiences to the students. I wanted to show them that peaceful demonstration is a right in our democracy.”
The students, who were wrapping up a field trip, did not exit the bus at the courthouse. And Pleune says he had permission from the transportation yard to take a detour.
But school district spokesman Jason Olsen says Pleune didn’t clarify the purpose of his detour.
“The actions he took were his own actions. They were not approved by the school or by the district. Both those entities do not condone what he did,” said Olsen. “The students were on a field trip to go see a play at the Hale Centre Theatre, they were not on a field trip to go see a political rally downtown.”
The students attend Bonneville Elementary School. Pleune is a volunteer for Peaceful Uprising, a group co-founded by DeChristopher to fight climate change through nonviolent action.
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