When school starts next month in the Joplin R-8 School District, the new bus driver whose private Facebook post about attending suicide prevention training went viral last week will not be among those who will be picking up children.
"They fired me for it," the driver told the Turner Report, "well, forced me to resign on my second day of training."
The Facebook post, which was sent during a break, appeared intended to be humorous and described the woman's frustration that she was having to watch the video in the North Middle School gymnasium instead of being able to watch it at home.
The post also described others at the session who were sleeping and having phone conversations.
At one point, the woman wrote, "How many times can they say suicide in three minutes? Twelve times, that's how many."
"It was all blown entirely out of proportion," the woman said, "and since it continues I'm forced to seek legal aide. How can a person who works hard and who actually cares find a decent job when her name is being slandered?'
The post was originally set to private and could only be seen by the former driver's friends, she said.
Jessica Nugent, whose son Luke, a Carl Junction middle school student, committed suicide in March 2013, did not appreciate what she saw as someone who was not taking suicide prevention training seriously, took a screen shot of the post and shared it on her Facebook page, as well as with R-8 Superintendent Melinda Moss.
The former bus driver said she did not intend to disrespect anyone and she took suicide prevention seriously.
"The post was set to private. It was my first day on the job. Sometime when people get uncomfortable, they make jokes."
The woman said because of experiences she had when she was younger, she fully understood the importance of the suicide prevention training.
"i was appalled when a woman to my right was having a phone conversation with ear phones in and no one said anything to her. Then a man who has worked there two years fell asleep and was snoring behind me.
"All I was saying was that it may have been easier to focus on in a less distracting and more intimate setting. Since the videos were via the internet, I thought this was a good option. In fact, I even asked about it at the end of training before lunch.
"Also, I thought the videos were poorly done. As a writer who has over 68 college credits towards a BS in marketing and a BA in creative writing with a strong emphasis in communication, it seems repeating the word 'suicide' in a prevention video may be counterproductive.
"The experience was cringey, thus the cringey, uncomfortably joking post."
The reaction to her post caught the former bus driver off guard.
"As soon as I realized how people were taking it, after she made by private post public, I immediately removed it and apologized."
The woman emphasized that the post was only meant for her friends.
"Those who know me and were the only ones meant to see it would find it funny."
The woman provided copies of exchanges she had with Nugent that showed her apologizing several times.
"I stopped responding to her at all because it seemed it was just her intention to attack to get attention for her cause.
"I am in her corner for her cause. I love children and am close with many, including family and friends' children who are both healthy and disabled.'
When she felt her exchanges with Nugent were not productive, the former bus driver took another step.
"I unfriended her after this happened because it seemed she just wanted someone to attack."
The former bus driver said she did not defend herself on Nugent's post "because it seemed she just wanted someone to attack. I didn't even defend myself on her post because people were threatening, saying I deserved to have my ass whooped, to be bitch slapped and be fired and more.
"I work very hard to take care of my children and I wish no ill on anyone ever. I would give the shirt off my back to someone in need and have.
"I don't think it's right to be making things up to fit one's agendaa and it's certainly never ok to bully and do the very thing you're fighting against because you didn't like a poor joke."
The Joplin R-8 School District has made a priority out of suicide prevention following a rash of suicides of JHS students.
All Missouri schools have been required by law to have a suicide prevention program in place since July 1, 2018.