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.
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.