Polk County Schools transportation manager's job on line after probe

By Saundra Weathers, Reporter
Last Updated: Tuesday, November 15, 2016, 8:03 AM EST

A transportation area manager from the Polk County School district is fighting for her job after an investigation revealed she lied about details involving the death of a teenage boy.

  • Hearing likely to determine job status of Brenda Young
  • She's accused of lies about teen's death details
  • Meeting is set for Tuesday evening

Five months ago, school district leaders suspended Brenda Young without pay. Now she's planning to speak out at a school board meeting to defend her job.

Documents show Polk County Schools officials found that school bus routes for students who live on Summerland Hills was altered.

It's a major discovery because it's the same bus stop that 17-year-old Kalen Kirk was crossing the street to get to when he was hit and killed in May.

Documents show Young was responsible for setting those bus stops. They also show she was the same person who made the change to the stop in the system after the accident.

"It doesn't make you feel good to know that somebody's doing something behind the scenes after the fact to try to cover tracks. But at the same token, you want to do everything you can to protect the kids. That's what it's all about, is the kids," said John Odom, a close friend of the family. 

According to one report, after the crash Young denied the 17-year-old was even crossing the busy Clubhouse Road to get to his bus stop saying, "None of my kids cross the road."

A school district investigation revealed that wasn't true and that Young lied when she was asked that same day about changing the bus stops in the system.

It's something that's hard to hear for John Odom. He was one of the neighbors who tried to help the 17-year-old after he was hit.

"I don't know how you can defend that," he said. "Whenever you're going behind the scenes and changing something, it's kind of hard to defend something like that. You put your job on the line when you do something like that," Odom said.

Young maintains she made the changes that day to make bus routes safer for other students.

The meeting is set for Tuesday evening. Leaders will hear from Young, according to the documents. It should be decided then if she will be officially terminated.

Young worked for the school district for 17 years, and this is the first disciplinary action in her personnel file.