UPDATE 3/17/11 @ 11:15 p.m.
OAK HILL, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Connie Hatfield is a friend of Carla Taylor, the woman accused of texting while driving a school bus full of children in Oak Hill.
"I first want to say that she does not want to make a comment. Nobody in this town approves of texting while driving, but we do approve of everyone being disciplined the same way. It was nothing to lose a job over," Hatfield said.
Hatfield and other friends came to Thursday's school board meeting to support their friend.
They also hoped to sway the board against terminating Ms. Taylor.
President of Oak Hill’s School Board, Aaron Michael, feels the unanimous decision was one that had to be made.
"We have a bus driver here who made a terrible mistake and ultimately I think the board and superintendent felt we had no choice other than termination in this instance," Michael said.
A student shot video of Ms. Taylor texting several times over a more than two minute period, but supporters of Ms. Taylor claim without a face or school bus number, the video isn't enough evidence.
"I think the video is clear of what was happening. I haven't heard a reasonable argument of she wasn't texting while driving, because the video shows that she was," Michael said.
While the board believes the proof is too damning, Hatfield says everyone makes mistakes.
"There have been other dangerous acts in this town and it's never reached this point at all," Hatfield said.
"I think it's safe to say no one is happy about this situation. The board wasn't given a choice in this matter. It hurts knowing the people involved, but that's part of the job," Michael said.
Oak Hill School Board members do not expect this matter to be dropped.
The meeting was moved to Oak Hill’s High School library to accommodate more people.
"It's a shame it happened, but the board and I have to make sure our students are kept safe. As an adult, the driver made a choice. They were warned many times before not to use cell phones," McCrory said.
Brian Smith and Jerry Mollett have kids who ride the bus everyday.
"It's kind of scary to watch. You really just want to keep your kids safe. You hope they get to school to give them the best chance they've got in life. You don't want an accident or something like that to take it away,” Smith said.
Texting and driving is also against the law.
Ohio's administrative code says the use of cellular devices are not allowed, except in emergency cases
"I don't believe this was an emergency situation. The employee was offered the opportunity to explain that to me, and they would not hand over their cell phone records," McCrory said.
Because of the investigation, the bus driver’s identity is required to remain anonymous.
However, the driver has been put on administrative leave.
"I hate to see somebody lose their job in this economy, but, if they decide that's the deal, then I understand," Mollett said.
"We all must follow the rules. The rules are meant to keep our children safe, so I don't know why somebody wouldn't want to follow the rules," McCrory said.
The incident is currently under investigation by the Oak Hill School System.
Statistics show texting and driving is much more dangerous than drinking and driving.
Looking off the road for six seconds equals 480 feet traveled when driving at a high rate of speed.
Oak Hill’s School Board will take up the matter at its next meeting on March 17.
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