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Fridley Firm Fires School Bus Driver Who Had Student Pick Up Gun: Reports

He pulled over and told a Robbinsdale student to retrieve the weapon from the roadside; Metropolitan Transportation Network owner Tashitaa Tufaa said the driver doesn't work there anymore.

A bus driver who stopped with students on board and asked a child to retrieve what turned out to be a gun is no longer employed with the Fridley-based Metropolitan Transportation Network, said owner Tashitaa Tufaa. 

Tufaa said the driver, who he wouldn't name, ignored "very huge signs" inside the bus that prohibit any such action.

"Even if they see a $20 bill, they cannot pick it up," he said. "They are supposed to call their supervisor immediately."

The incident is without precedent at MTA, Tufaa said.

A spokesperson at Robbinsdale Area Schools said the same was true for the school. "This has never happened before," spokesperson Tia Clasen told Golden Valley Patch. "I encourage families to talk to their students about situations that may arise where the students may feel uncomfortable."

Letter to Families
According to a Nov. 8, 2012 letter to families from Robbinsdale Middle School Principal John Cook (see PDF), the driver said he intended to bring the gun back to the company's dispatch office. When he arrived at the school, he told bus supervisors about the incident, the letter said.

Tufaa said the driver did not get a chance to bring the gun back to Fridley. Instead, another bus replaced his, and the Minnesota State Patrol, local police and MTA's safety team responded.

The driver "had to stay with the cops" to be interviewed, Tufaa said, adding that the driver "doesn't work for us"—a point on which he wouldn't elaborate.

KARE 11 reported that a company spokesman said the driver had been fired.

Fridley Home
Tufaa said he started MTA on Elm Street NE in Fridley before moving it to Coon Rapids. The company returned to Fridley a year ago with new headquarters and more than 300 buses at 8260 Hickory St. NE, the Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal reported.  

"It's a good home for us," Tufaa told Patch on Friday.

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