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The driver on the bus goes puff, puff, puff…

How comfortable are you with a marijuana smoking bus driver bringing your kids to school?  Students at a school in upstate New York are being forced to deal with it.

Cynthia DiDomenicantonio, a bus driver for the Shenendehowa School District in Clifton Park, was fired from her job for failing a drug test.

An Appeals Court however, decided the firing was “too severe a punishment”, and have ordered the school to reinstate DiDomenicantonio.

Via the Times Union:

The state’s highest court on Tuesday unanimously upheld an order requiring the reinstatement of a Shenendehowa bus driver who was fired after she failed a random drug test for marijuana.

The Court of Appeals ruling supported the conclusion of an arbitrator who determined the firing of Cynthia DiDomenicantonio on Nov. 10, 2009, was too severe a punishment for the district employee of 10 years.

The school district, represented by attorney Beth Bourassa, had argued that it had adopted a zero-tolerance policy for positive drug tests. The bus driver’s attorney, Daren Rylewicz, countered that such a policy did not exist.

The arbitrator — who became involved after the bus drivers union, the Civil Service Employees Association, challenged the firing — found the dismissal violated the collective bargaining agreement.
The arbitrator ordered DiDomenicantonio reinstated — minus six months of back pay, follow-up drug testing and substance-abuse counseling.

The school district has now gone from having a zero tolerance drug policy, to having zero ability to enforce rules on employees using drugs.

Read that again – the union and the courts thought that a school bus driver caught using drugs, should get no more than a slap on the wrist.

Buckle your seatbelts kids…