McKee Mayor resigns as school bus driver after leaving child on bus

vhoneycutt@herald-leader.comFebruary 20, 2013 

McKee Mayor John Tompkins said Wednesday that he is resigning his second job as a Jackson County school bus driver because he unknowingly left a 5-year-old student on a bus.

Tompkins said he did not see the child, who had curled up in a seat and fallen asleep, before Tompkins ended his route for the day.

The boy was discovered by another school bus driver after he woke up, Tompkins said.

He said he has always been protective of students who ride his bus, and that on Tuesday he could have been distracted because his role as mayor was on his mind.

"When it gets to the point when your mind is working so hard that you miss something simple ... when children are involved and you've got that much on your mind, then there's nothing else you can do" but resign, Tompkins said.

Tompkins, who said he had driven a school bus for five years, gave his resignation to school officials Tuesday. He said he went to the child's home and apologized to the boy and his parents.

Jackson County school officials referred questions to an attorney whose office was closed Wednesday afternoon.

Tompkins said he worked at the second job because as mayor of McKee, population of about 800, he is paid only about $500 a month.

Valarie Honeycutt Spears: (859) 231-3409. Twitter: @vhspears.

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