Documents Reveal Why Transportation Supervisor ‘Hid’ Part Of Assault Video From Parents

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WAYLAND, Mich. (April 15, 2014) — Wayland Union Public Schools mom Amanda Reed told board members Monday night that her complaints surrounding bus driver Malissa Westfahl’s behavior toward her son were previously swept under the rug by school Transportation Supervisor Jeff Schilthroat.

“Neither one of the reports were written down,” said Amanda.

Reed said she tried to get Schilthroat to address Westfahl’s behavior toward her son, which she alleged included calling the child “mohawk” and intimidating him.

“It was definitely forgotten to be recorded on multiple occasions,” said Reed.

Mom Amber Canfield also came to us after her special needs son was assaulted, punched in the genitals and neck, by other children on Westfahl’s bus on March 11.

“He told me repeatedly, on I don`t know how many occasions, that what happened on that bus was nothing more than child-play and it was a crime,” said Canfield.

She reported the incident to Wayland Police who investigated the students involved in the incident and passed on the case to the prosecutor.

Canfield said Schilthroat only showed her and her husband a portion of the video, leaving out the ending in which Westfahl allegedly yelled at their son after he was victimized by the other children.

She apparently sat him next to his attackers once again.

“If he could miss a crime, are our kids on Wayland buses safe? No,” said Canfield.

She felt that Schilthroat hid that portion of the video from her.

Although Westfahl and supervisor Schilthroat hasn’t been talking in public, documents FOX 17 obtained from the Freedom of Information Act from Wayland Public Schools shed more light on why he stopped that video before parents could see the driver’s reaction.

Meeting notes taken during a investigatory hearing dated March 20, 2014, show how administrators were grilling Schilthroat about the assault that was caught on video and his response to it.

They ask Schilthroat, “Why did you only show the parents a portion of the bus video involving their son?”

Schilthroat responds, “They didn’t need to see her (MW) being unsympathetic to their son.  It was an embarrassment to the school and the department.”

Then, questioning appears to indicate that administrators weren’t allowed to see the full version of the video either.

They ask, “When administration requested a copy of the bus video to review, why did they also first receive the abbreviated version?”

The document indicates Shilthroat responded that he “Figured the parents were going to see it here (admin).”

The questioning also sheds light on previous complaints about Westfahl.

Administrators ask Schilthroat, “How many times have you had to address issues with MW?’

He answers, “Numerous.”

Superintendent Norm Taylor goes on to say, “This all has very adverse affects, whether real or perceived, that we have unsafe buses.  There is too much inappropriate behavior happening. Your effectiveness to oversee the Transportation Department is in question.”

“You will be on paid administrative leave effective immediately.”

Another administrator tells Schilthroat, “…the thing that hurt the district most was your attempt to hide a portion of the video from the parent’s viewing.”

He responds, “I’m sorry, that’s it.  I dropped the ball.”

We dropped by Schilthroat’s listed address for comment and also left a message with someone at his listed phone number, but we did not receive a response as of Tuesday.

He has previously not responded for requests for comment on this issue.

The school also issued a letter for Malissa Westfahl as well, stating that she would be placed on paid administrative leave.

“During this time, you may only enter District premises in a parental capacity,” the letter says.


Full letter to Malissa Westfahl

We left a message for comment on Westfahl’s listed number, but have not heard back as of Tuesday.

At least one of Schilthroat’s employees at Wayland Union Public schools was willing to speak at a public meeting about Schilthroat’s character to try to save his job.

“He’s always been the last one to think about himself,” said John Hyke, a maintenance employee. “People make mistakes. I mean, there’s not one of anybody here that has never made a mistake. Let’s not make another one by letting him go.”

“You talk to 95% of people in this district, I don’t think one of them will tell you anything negative about him,” he added.

Monday night board members again discussed Schilthroat’s contract in closed session with attorneys.
No decision or comment was made in public on whether that contract will be renewed.
Board members did discuss splitting the Transportation Supervisor position into two positions. That would include a maintenance supervisory position along with a transportation supervisory position.
It was discussed that $20,000 might be added to the budget to make that happen although it’s just a proposal at this point.
We also looked into Schilthroat’s past by digging up his personnel record at nearby Thorapple Kellogg Schools in Middleville where he resigned as Transportation Coordinator in 2007.
In 2001, a letter showed that he was reprimanded by the superintendent for his decision to allow a former student who was emotionally and physically impaired to drive buses, resulting in damage to one of the vehicles.
It states,  is being issued to you for allowing an individual other than a district employee without proper training and license to drive Thornapple Kellogg school buses…..”
“You have also allowed this same individual….a former TK student who is severely hearing impaired and emotionally impaired to work without pay in the district’s transportation facility.”
The letter also says, “You have disregarded the recommendations from your supervisor and instead involved ( him ) in `hiding` out in the bus garage…this deceit is unacceptable and sets a very poor example….allowing (him) to work all day without wages, doing your job is not in his best interest.”
Read the full letter:
Screen shot 2014-04-15 at 7.08.51 PM


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  • tammycartwright

    the whole truth isn't being told here people!!!! first of all that little boy was not assaulted by 5 boys while he was sitting quietly in his seat. He started the fight by swearing and hitting a couple of other boys that told him to stop and when he didn't they retaliated .I think that if people where able to see the video they would see the truth about that part of the incident. there was no crime here just bad judgement on the part of the driver and the supervisor

  • Francis buxton

    Before I even get into what hill jack the mother of the kid that got bullied who is making this whole ordeal into a daytime drama…..Fox 17 news needs to find some real news to report. You guys are a joke. Mr.Schilthroat didn’t bully this kid. He was only trying to protect not his nor the bus drivers job but the interests of Wayland Public Schools. I’m sure he knows the kids that bullied the boy on the bus would be punished for what they did to the boy on the bus. But Fox 17 news needs to get off this mans back. If Fox 17 came to my home to ask me questions about my job, they would get a bucket of ice cold water thrown in there face as I opened the door only to have it slammed in there face……as for the mother of the bullied much as I hate to say it, bullies at school are like cockroaches, they will never go away. I dont know the driver or Mr. Schilthroat. I do know people who do know him. And every person I know said the man has a heart of gold. Ive heard the man would give the shirt off his back to anyone, and this is from numerous people. Im sorry this happaned, but instead of having a hardworking man lose his job. The mother is a white trash cow that makes honey boo boos mom look like a super model….Fox 17 news…how about an update on the missing plane instead of an update on a hard working man that get canned from his job for a stupid reason and you tell everyone about it…….

  • Cheerio

    tammy You can sit there and say what you want to believe from what you have you said know the facts,but until you see the video I don’t wanna hear anything I saw the video myself I’m the boys uncle and its clear what happened! When you take a job like being a bus driver you know the task your taking O, you have to be a role Model for these kids. ME and Jeff are neither one of these, should have never even got a job in any school district.also let me ask you 1 question if thus situation was blown out then why are there many more parents stepping forward with the same problems with the same 2 people.

  • Family Friend

    I’ve been a family friend, for several years. The child your on here bashing, is a very sweet young man and has been completely traumatized by this whole ordeal. Who are you to come on here and pretend to have all the facts? I highly doubt you’ve watched the video, as the family was told it can not be released.
    I have been a witness through this whole situation. I have not seen the video, however I was there when the officer in charge of this case told the boy that he had done NOTHING wrong and how proud he was of him he was. Further more, if this child had done wrong; wouldn’t you think he would have been reprimanded as well? Maybe you should get your facts straight.
    On another note; Francis. Your ridiculous! The mother is a devoted, caring, beautiful person. You may not agree with the FACTS provided to you, but hiding cowardly behind a computer and viciously throwing insults are a demonstration of your poor character.
    As for my dearest friend, I am very proud of you! What you’re doing isn’t easy, but your standing up for what’s right. I know you’ve said not to comment, but I hope you understand why.

  • hello

    WOW, this is such a traumatic story for that little boy who was being bullied. Personally, I feel they should fire the bus driver and the transportation supervisor for trying to cover this up. Bullying is against the law in Michigan in case you didn't know this FRANCIS!!!!! How would you like it if one of your children was on that same bus in that little boys place? I'm sure you would have a whole different view about it then wouldn't you? Way to go FAMILY FRIEND for sticking up for these parents! Our son was bullied by his teacher in the third grade and it's very hard to fight the school board on these things (even with proof). The healing takes years en this happens so we wish the family well!

  • Francis buxton

    Im am not a family friend. I dont even know the guy, like I clearly stated. However I do know quite a few people that do know him. Some still Thornapple Kellogg employees. They all still believe what happened to him in Middleville was totally wrong. The boy he was having do odd jobs for at the bus garage was a special needs child. He came there all the time on by his own will on a bike. Jeff let him wash buses because the boy ask to. Jeff being the good person he is wouldn’t turn him away. It was only an hour or so out of the day after school. Of course Fox news makes it look like slave labor…. As for if I had a child who was bullied, of course I would be upset, if the school didn’t do anything about it I would by simply boarding the bus myself and asking the bullies to leave my child alone…not go on the news and make a person look like a monster for everyone to see. Your child got bullied, that is horrible. No child should have to deal with that happening to them. But even if the whole video was shown, this mother would still be all over the news making this into a sob story for all to hear. Of course this kid will be scared for the rest of his life…the mother wont stop talking about it. If I was the kid that got beat up I would be more embarrassed now then if my mother simply got on the bus and took care of the issue herself. I remember being beat up after school and on the bus a couple times when I was a kid. That all came to a stop when I decided to fight back, not go cry to my mommy. Sure it cost me some detention time but it sure was nice not to messed with again.

  • Charlie Bucket

    I just took my 5 year old to McDonald’s. We ordered a happy meal with a cheeseburger. Once we got on the road we realized they gave him nuggets instead. Boy I was furious. I called the McDonalds and spoke to the manager who was of no help. I would like to have the McDonalds employee fired for messing up my kids order. I’m kind of hoping Fox 17 news will see my story on here and help me get this guy fired from his job. There is no room in the world for people who make mistakes like this. I want this persons entire employment history to be shown on TV and put online for everyone to see. If Fox 17 puts this story out there you know it will be the absolute truth about this man, nothing but pure FACT….please Fox 17, I already see you’ve ruined another mans career. Please help me ruin the man at McDonalds life to. I know where this woman and her child are coming from. Nobody should make mistakes ever. Hope you get what you wanted lady. Sad thing is, I’m pretty sure the next time I go to McDonalds they will mess up my order. Just like the next Wayland Transportation director who has to deal with a child being bullied. Give it a month or so and the kids will find someone else to pick on. Then the new director will be fired.

  • Parent of a child who rides this bus


    I cannot believe some of the horrible comments on this page.

    I have also had issues with this same bus driver and Jeff at Transpertation. He has never been kind to me when I have had an issue that has been brought to his attention.

    The woman that you are so eager to bash is a good friend and did not want to get the news involved untill she found that something’s were not adding up.

    Which EVERY GOOD PARENT would do.

    We do have a ZERO TOLLERANCE POLICY in place for a reason!

    Every child deals with bully’s

    I get that, but they beat him!

    And after he moved to get away

    The bus driver yelled at him and put him back by the kids who assaulted him just minutes before!

    They do not deserve to keep there jobs!

    Like Jeff said and I quote..”I dropped the ball”

    And he has had numerous

    Complaints against ms w.

    • Wanttobejustlikeyou

      The driver DID NOT put the students that hit him back by him as they DO NOT even ride the same bus home with him they are just shuttled to another elementary school to get to their bus. This mother knows she is not telling the whole truth and Karma WILL get her back before it is all said and done. And her child was the one that started it by shoving the two kids first, swearing and hitting back. Oh did she forget to mention that YES she did.

      This driver has been driving for the district for 16 years, and has transported many kids over the years with families that really appreciate her and the way she goes out of her way for them. She even has past students that go out of their way to visit with her and catch her up on their lives.

      I am so amazed that you have never left a bad impression on anyone that has met you before and people just flock to you to follow in your amazing shadow. Maybe you need to teach the rest of the world how you are liked by everyone and is one of the few PERFECT people that God sent to us.

    • WUS mother

      I have contacted Jeff before regarding concerns on how a driver treated my child and he was very short with me. He conveys a very uncaring attitude. How can the administration trust a supervisor that conceals evidence? They cannot!

  • Ned Ryerson

    These aren’t horrible comments. None of them are. Its pure good ole American freedom of speech. Everyone is entitled to his or her opinions.

  • Clara Clayton

    I find it Absolutely Amazing that Jeff was not able to make over 2,800 sets of parents happy all of the time!! I'm sure every parent who has shared their "Jeff made me mad when…." story would be absolutely perfect at doing his job. They would be able to magically end bullying forever, and all of the buses would blow rainbows out of their exhaust pipes. I can't imagine how easy his job must have been. I think a great way to teach our kids to respect others and end bullying is to bash someones reputation as far to the ground as possible (even if we don't know the person), and don't stop until WE are happy and get what WE want no matter what cost……perfect examples for our kids.

      • Clara Clayton

        He didn't hide the truth, if he was trying to hide the truth he wouldn't have showed them the video at all – he would have denied that it happened. It seems to me that he admitted to his mistake.

  • sherrievanderbosch

    It saddens me to hear of an honest hard working man lose his job. It's a sad world that we live in when someone makes a mistake but pays with having his character wrongfully portrayed by Fox 17 News. You have made my decision to stop watching the news very easy. Never again will I turn on your news station. You disgust me and are part of what is wrong with the world today. Everyone bases their opinions on half truths and you just add fuel to the fire. You, Fox 17 News should be sued for defamation of character.
    A former viewer

  • Real American

    In my day whining about your child to the administrator didn’t happen cause your child would know not to misbehave on the bus or at school. It seems to me you people are looking past the obvious facts in this case. The major issue is with the parents of the children causing the fight. These parents should be made to take classes on disciplining their children. The bus driver nor the transportation manager were not the cause. Good kids don’t get into constant fights because those kids have good parents who teach them respect and manners. There is a reason the same kids always get into trouble and get written up on the bus…. Not because they were born that way or because The bus driver or manager made them mad. IT’S THE PARENTS… IT’S ALWAYS THE PARENTS. Let’s see some investigative journalism on the parents involved in this “crisis”. How does the work history and criminal records stack up between the parents. Are they as perfect as their perfect children who could never do anything wrong. I say we get Susan Gee Haw from Channel 8 on the case because she ain’t gonna stop until all the facts are on the table… She’s nosey.

    • Real American too

      Suzanne Geha was fired from channel 8 years ago and don't fault her because she's nosy, I'm sure that was HER PARENTS FAULT! :)

  • Humdinger

    I’ve known Mr. Schilthroat for 20 years and he is a very nice man. I’ve seen him go out of his way to help not only kids in the school district but there parents to when they’ve had car trouble. And also give the kids with special needs a chance. I remember him letting the boy at the garage wash the buses. It was either that or let the kid go home and do nothing. I remember how happy his parents were that Jeff was giving him a chance. The poor kid had no friends. Jeff is a good person. People make mistakes. Maybe he had to much on his plate while holding the transportation director job. Maybe that explains why Wayland is now dividing the job into two jobs. I just feel bad for the new directors..they might want to have a back up job lined up.

  • Cheerio

    People committing on this are looking past the facts. A special needs kid was beat to a pulp and all you guys thinks that’s okay because he’s a good man? If he such a good man then why did he only show half the videoif he such great man why did he stick up for the bus driver when she was clearly in the wrong.all you can keep saying this is getting blown out but I but if this was your autistic kid you would have a change of heart. there’s not much love and respect left in this world and you people are a great example of it! I hope none of you ever get the chance to be a parent because me as a parent I would do everything and anything to insure the safety of my kids.I’m just taking a wild guess her but I can guarantee that all the people bashing this family are bullys and have been in trouble them self and there kids!

  • Family Friend

    The reason we have so many children out causing problems, isn’t just lack of parenting. It’s the lack of morals society holds. Society tells our children that these behaviors are ok!
    Further more, the child’s disability was only given to the media because his speech was what children were tounting him for. Otherwise Amber wouldn’t have released it. Amber is NOT one to ask pitty on her child because of his disadvantages! She treats him with the same as we do our “normal” children as much as possible.
    Since your so interested in her, I’ll tell you the kind of person she is. She’s the most generous person I have ever met. She will give her last to help someone, she takes great pride in her job; where she works with disabled adults. She’s working on implicating programs within the school to help YOUR children! Her only intent was to bring awareness to the community. Even though your opinions mean nothing to her, this highly upsets me. She’s working all the time to be an advocate for every parent/child that needs one! Give her a break.
    Would you feel better if she had just sued the school? I think not. She’s being proactive and trying to find ways of preventing a reoccurrence. Wake up people! Further more, I hope some of you educate yourselves on the difference between “freedom of speech” and harassment/slander. Since your already unaware of Michigan laws and Civil rights.

  • MMP

    I feel bad for the student who was bullied. But if student is special needs why is he riding a regular bus and not an AAESA bus(Special needs) . The parent should be looking into this program. I don't agree that the supervisor should be blame for what the students did. I also feel the parents of the bullies should be taking some kind of responsibilities. As a parent and a bus driver ( different district) I feel we need to work together. Majority of us work and it would be sad if our supervisor are blamed for the mistakes we do. Unemployment would really be up in Michigan if that would be the case. And is there a district that is perfect? I don't think so. My grandson was told to get off the bus when he was 5 years old and walk a half a mile . My grandson refused they took him back to garage. I see little children around 5 years old walk about a quarter of mile on a busy street and that's in a different district. I can say Wayland stops in front of almost all their students homes.

  • Parent of a child who rides this bus

    This story was to make parents aware of the situation in our school district..and to get more parents involved. I hope they will do the right thing and have a conversation with there kids about bullying..because it’s wrong

  • Parent of a child who rides this bus

    we should not punish the victim by making him ride a different bus because that doesn’t solve the problem…did you know that 2 of the kids who assaulted him are in his class at school and that is why he is still having issues dealing with it?

  • Brick majors

    No! Don’t sue the school! Let’s get people fired instead. That makes everything better. I’m sure now that the evil transportation supervisor is gone, all fighting on busses will end forever and all the parents won’t have feelings hurt. What a joke, this whole story is one giant pathetic waste of time. Nib high football rules!!!!

  • Jack Torse

    The mother of the child sounds very proactive. She really looks like she’s got it all together. Getting Fox News involved seems like the best way to be proactive by far. She should definently be in the running for humanitarian of the year award. The way she was able to take jobs away from people is so great. Not only take away jobs but crush someone’s good reputation on television for all to see is simply outstanding. Keep up the excellent proactive work!!:)

  • Amy tramer

    The child is still having issues in his class? I would either sue the teacher, sue the school or get Fox News involved again! That seems to be the best option now days. It’s obviously everyone else’s fault.

  • Jeramy Fistal

    I think I met Jeff one time. Isn’t he the guy who hands out big ol fish buttons down by cripple creek apple orchard? He seemed pretty cool but I’m pretty sure he still hurt my feelings too. I’m with the angry mom on this one. He should have let the kids watch movies on the bus instead of stopping the movies part way! I hate it when I don’t get to finish a movie. Makes me want to call Fox News!!!

  • Real American

    I love the comment… Society is to blame. You Sir or Mam, are an idiot! Societies don’t raise children, their parents do, and it’s the parents who have the ability to choose what kind of exposure they have and how to deal with the violence, sex and drugs they are exposed to on TV and in life. WAY TO GO! MORON. This thread keeps getting better and better. Some people who have commented here are realizing the main issue with this story. LAZY PARENTS who blame others and don’t take responsibility for the problems their children are causing.

  • Real American

    why aren’t the other kids being expelled. I mean they beat this kids to a pulp right? seems pretty fishy to me. it almost seems like the parents are going after the administration in order to procure a settlement. let me put a hundred bucks down on the parents pushing a lawsuit against the school system.

  • Samantha Rolans

    I totally agree with true American. Raise your kids right and take responsibility for you AND your children. It’s a fairly simple concept. Some people are just flat out clueless.

  • Bill Cosby

    My son Enis had the same problem on his bus. But I just gave him some Jello pudding and that made him feel alot better. Maybe that will bring some sunshine into his life.

  • Ray Bolger

    In response to wuss mother. Maybe when you contacted Jeff about your child being bullied on the bus and you said he was short with you.maybe he had some buses broke down he needed back on the road for the next day or maybe he had another flock of parents on hold telling him the same thing you were….I’m sure he didn’t need to hear a whole sob story. I would’ve been short with you to. Just sounds like Wayland schools have a whole bunch a bad seed kids going to school there. Let’s stone the man for making a mistake while trying to preform a stressful job like that.

  • Hurrrrrrrrr Ghost

    15 minutes can save you 15% or more on Car insurance….Everybody knows that…Well, did you know that Wayland Public Schools will fire you to keep from being sued?

  • WhatIsWrongWithTheWorld

    So let me get this straight because I’m completely flabbergasted by this entire story. A hard working man is gonna lose his job because he showed the parents of this child exactly what they asked for?! Didn’t they want to see the fight and he showed them the whole fight?! I can’t quite wrap my mind around this whole situation. This blows me away that a small amount of people can threaten to sue and a good man loses his job. I fear for my job, we should all fear for our jobs!! WAKE UP people what is this world coming to when an excellent employee makes ONE mistake and not only does his job get taken away but his good reputation gets dragged through the mud by a local tv station. If this happened to someone like Mr. Schilthroat this could happen to anyone.

  • A local parent

    What a shame that this man makes one mistake and instead of getting recognition for the many good things he’s done for the district, his excellent work record and safety ratings, all his hard work, early mornings, late nights, exhausting hours, thoughtful gestures to so many, he gets fired?!? I have come to the conclusion that a few extremely loud voices can ruin a good mans job and reputation quite easily nowadays.

  • Mark Fulton

    We just put our kids in wayland school district 6 months ago. I have heard nothing but good things about the whole transportation operation in wayland. It’s amazing to me that all it takes is one person to ruin a well run operation like wayland transportation. Fox News should also be ashamed of how they handled this story.

  • Adam and Barbra Maitland

    As local parents of long graduated Wayland Students. We are ashamed to be a part of this Town and school district. No child should be picked on or beat up but what this woman is doing is just a absolute joke. I’m also ashamed that the name of my hometown is tge name of a local rock band that in my opinion is just aweful. Please change your band name to Dorr or Shelbyville. Leave Wayland out of it. Hang in there Jeff Schilthroat, you did nothing wrong.

  • My names Ernie Douglas but my friends call me Chip

    I was wondering if Fox 17s Jennifer Dowling would go to the homecoming dance with me next year?

  • Saul Rosenburg

    I ride the rapid and was beaten so viciously I had welts on my face and knees. Oh it was awful, they beat me so unmercifully. They shoved worms in my mouth and everything. I wear my short shorts to work and they fire bricks and bottles down on top of me and I don’t go that way, you know what I’m saying?

  • Jennifer Dowling

    Hello chip, what a sexy name! I would love to go to homecoming with you!! I don’t get asked on many dates with all of my high profile investigating I do. I will come to your house and pick you up, i drive a dodge stratus with a dent in the rear fender. Let’s hit Wendy’s before the dance, I’m gonna crush a baconator before we tear up the dance floor honey!!

  • Juggy Gales

    I to was beat on the Rapid. I had hot coffee on me and the guy was wearing football cleats and swearing like a sailor why he kicked me repeatedly in the ass, my cheeks looked like Michigan large curd cottage cheese after it was all over. I’m still having trouble sleeping at night from being being suran wrapped to the seat and beat with a stick. These bus bullies need to be stopped!!

  • Tony Cliffton

    Here’s a little info on Jennifer Dowling. I am a deliver pizza in Grand Rapids. I had a delivery to Fox 17 news station on evening. I had to use the restroom real bad. I ask the guy who I dropped the pie to if I could use the bathroom, He said i could. Right as I was reaching for the handle the door swings open and out comes Jennifer Dowling, along with the most god aweful smell I’ve ever encountered in my life. It smelled like charred raisins and a unkept porta john. I didn’t know rather to laugh or cry. My eyes started to water it was so aweful…anyway, I just thought since she shares so many personal things about people with other people it would be nice to know a little something about her. Oh a she needed a second flush for it to go down. She didn’t know that, but I took care of it for her.

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