Kearney school bus driver fired for being Facebook friends with students

Posted at 2:47 PM, Aug 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-17 19:58:25-04

A Kearney School District bus driver was fired for violating company policy, according to Durham School Services. 

James Tolar was fired Wednesday after a parent complained about him being friends with parents and students on Facebook. 

"There are kids that want to ride my bus instead of their own bus," said Tolar. 

Tolar said he was the most popular bus driver in town. 

"I can’t help it if I go to stables or out in public and kids come running up to me. I am popular. I am the most popular bus driver there is,” he said.

In July, a parent complained about Tolar being friends with parents and students on Facebook. 

It’s something Tolar said he's done for five years. 

"They called me in and said we are not going to fire you, we will just take you off the route and I said that’s fine,” he said.

That was a few weeks ago. 

On Wednesday, he was told he was being fired. 

"Maybe the bus driver could see something on Facebook, I don't have it but maybe he could see something that doesn't look right and bring it to someone’s attention," said John Huxtable. 

Huxtable is a parent of a 9th-grade girl that rode on Tolar's bus. He's also Tolar's brother-in-law. 

When Tolar posted on Facebook that he was fired his page was flooded with comments. 

Durham School Services told 41 Action News it is against company policy to interact with students on social media. 

That policy isn't limited to Kearney Schools; it also applies to Blue Valley school bus drivers. 

Tolar thinks he was singled out, saying female bus drivers do the same thing he does. 

"Are they getting fired like I did? It was just a shocking experience yesterday,” he said.

When asked about that claim, Durham said that’s a personnel issue that can’t be discussed. 

For Tolar, he just wants to get back to work. 

"I would love to have my job back. I love the kids, I love the people at Durham," he said. 

As for adding parents on Facebook Durham said, “as long as it’s in a professional nature" it is not against policy.