The public school bus driver who was fired after dropping off two students from Adacao Elementary School at the wrong bus stop filed an appeal of her termination at the Civil Service Commission.
Karen Madlutk contends that her right to be told and understand the allegations against her and their consequences was denied her.
"I was tricked into not getting my rights and I was not given my rights at the interrogation by (Assistant Attorney General) Donna Lawrence," Madlutk writes in her appeal.
Madlutk sent a letter to Attorney General Leevin Camacho on Aug. 5 explaining her situation. She stated that she was questioned at Adacao Elementary on May 22 by her supervisor, the Guam Department of Education superintendent, a parent of the children and school officials.
She was again called for an interview at the office of the Department of Public Works director on June 13, where she was met by Lawrence, and the superintendent and deputy superintendent of bus operations. It appears a union representative did not accompany her.
"(Bus superintendent) Frank Taitano told me, 'You don't need a (Guam Federation of Teachers) representative to be present because Donna Lawrence represents DPW. Just be honest and tell the truth.' That's what I did," Madlutk wrote.
"But she start questioning me with attitude that I am lying. She was bullying and harassing me to say what she want me to say. If I don't give her the answer she's looking for or I don't speak at all she start to get mad and told me to just say yes or no," Madlutk added.
She stated in the letter that she believed Lawrence was representing DPW but also that the attorney was there for her as a DPW employee.
"But I was wrong," Madlutk wrote. "I also was not given any rights or told of them during entire interrogation of me by Donna Lawrence."
Various July letters from Dan Del Priore, representing Madlutk as the GFT lay representative, are also included in the CSC case file.
Del Priore notified DPW on July 16 that he had been asked to assist in answering the proposed adverse action against Madlutk and asked that DPW provide a video and all other materials reviewed, as well as notes taken during interviews with his client and any waivers she may have signed.
Del Priore followed up on July 23 and 25. He noted in the July 25 letter that Madlutk couldn't attend the hearing, called an answering, on the proposed adverse action that morning. It appears the requested materials were not provided.
Madlutk has the right to know the details of the allegations against her as well as a right to representation during the answering, Del Priore wrote.
"However, as I stated to you this morning, the right to representation carries with it the right to effective representation and I could not provide that to Karen for this answering," Del Priore wrote to DPW Director Vince Arriola.
"I could not provide that to Karen for this answering; just as she could not answer, when DPW management ignored and refused, despite several timely requests, to provide the bus video and its audio, as well as the interview transcripts and/or notes," Del Priore added.
A status call was held at the CSC on Tuesday but DPW did not appear. There was no entry of appearance for a DPW representative as of that day. The case was continued to Aug. 29.
The bus stop incident was widely publicized in media and prompted discussions with law maikers. It occurred in May - two siblings in the third and fourth grade were reportedly forced off the bus nowhere near their home after boarding the wrong bus.
DPW launched an investigation and terminated Madlutk on Aug. 2, according to the final adverse action.
According to the document, Madlutk had been a bus driver for nine years and received training on how to handle incidents involving children.
"You informed the two female students to just get down and walk because it was not far. You admitted in your interview you assumed they lived nearby, but you did not know that," the final adverse action stated.
Video footage from the incident showed Madlutk referring to the students as being on the wrong bus, reportedly saying, "why you take the wrong bus?" and "just get off here and go across."
In a written provided on May 22, a day after the incident, Madlutk wrote that two girls came up to her at the third stop on her route and told it was not their stop. She stated that she asked them where their stop was and they pointed to back, toward Thousand Steps, an area known for the hiking trail.
"I then told them; you can get down here it's the same distance. They got down with the other students and walk toward thousand steps," Madlutk reportedly stated. The bus stop prior to her third stop was at least a half mile away. The final adverse action said she admitted the children lived nearby or missed a bus stop behind them but they did not tell her they missed their bus stop or lived nearby.
The written statement did not mention that she was aware the students were on the wrong bus, the final adverse action stated.
"Your statements as heard on the bus video ... and in your written statement are conflicting," it stated.
Video footage was shown to Madlutk on at least two occasions. After seeing the video, she admitted that dropping off the students was inappropriate and unsafe, after initially stating she felt she had done nothing wrong.
Moreover, in the five years prior to the incident, Madlutk admitted that she always took a child back to school if they were on the wrong bus or missed a stop.