Long Island School Bus Driver Fired for Drinking on the Job

Being a school bus driver is a responsibility that requires utmost professionalism and care. However, a recent incident on Long Island has brought attention to the actions of a school bus driver who was caught drinking on the job. This shocking incident has raised concerns about the safety of students and the actions that should be taken to prevent such incidents in the future.

The Incident: Caught Drinking on the Job

The incident occurred on a regular school day when the bus driver, Amal Hanna, was transporting students from Smithtown High School West. To her surprise, she was photographed drinking from a can of White Claw, an alcoholic beverage. The photo quickly circulated and raised concerns about the safety of the students under her care.

The Driver’s Explanation: A Mistake with Serious Consequences

Amal Hanna, a 60-year-old school bus driver, explained that she believed she was drinking a regular fruit-flavored seltzer when she grabbed the can from the fridge she shared with her roommate. She was unaware that it contained alcohol and claims that she couldn’t taste the difference due to undergoing chemotherapy for cancer. Hanna expressed deep remorse for her actions and tearfully stated that it was a mistake with serious consequences.

Police Investigation: No Charges Filed

Following the incident, the Suffolk County Police Department conducted an investigation into the matter. After considering Hanna’s explanation and the circumstances surrounding the incident, they concluded that she did not have knowledge of the alcoholic content of the beverage. As a result, no charges were filed against her. This decision raised questions about the responsibility of individuals to be aware of the contents of the beverages they consume.

Employment Consequences: Termination and Uncertainty

Although Hanna was not charged by the police, she faced severe consequences from her employer, WE Transport Inc. The company promptly terminated her employment, ending her 15-year career as a school bus driver. This sudden termination left Hanna uncertain about her future and how she would support herself, especially considering her ongoing chemotherapy treatments.

Parent and Community Reactions: Mixed Opinions

The incident sparked a range of reactions from parents and the community. Some parents expressed shock and concern, questioning how such an incident could occur. However, others described Hanna as a kind and caring individual, sharing positive experiences with her as their children’s bus driver. They believed that her actions were an honest mistake and that she had never posed a threat to the students’ safety.

School District Response: Zero Tolerance for Such Behavior

The Smithtown Central School District, where the incident took place, swiftly responded to the situation. Superintendent Mark Secaur issued a statement expressing the district’s commitment to ensuring the safety of all students. He emphasized that the district has “zero tolerance for this behavior” and assured parents that appropriate actions were taken to address the incident.

Lessons Learned: Safety Measures and Awareness

The incident involving Amal Hanna highlights the importance of safety measures and awareness among school bus drivers. To prevent similar incidents in the future, it is crucial for drivers to exercise caution and be aware of the contents of the beverages they consume. Additionally, school districts should provide training and reminders to drivers about their responsibilities and the potential consequences of their actions.

Supporting Bus Drivers: Mental Health and Support Systems

This incident also sheds light on the mental health and support systems for bus drivers. The stress and challenges of the job can take a toll on drivers, and it is essential for employers to prioritize their well-being. Providing access to mental health support and creating a supportive work environment can help prevent incidents and ensure the safety of both drivers and students.


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