Ryan Pleune, an on-call bus driver for the Salt Lake City School District in Utah, was fired after making an additional, unscheduled stop during a field trip. Before returning the students to school from a field trip, he stopped his bus at a rally supporting Tim DeChristopher .
Pleune told the Salt Lake Tribune that he wanted to let the students see the protests as a current example of political revolt.
"It started to occur to me that there is this kind of democracy in action going on in our city. It is national news. Why not share that with the kids rather than let them just read it in their text books and think it is in the past?"
Pleune was returning the students from viewing "A Tale of Two Cities" at a local playhouse when he made the detour.
Jason Olsen, spokesman for the school district, told KCPW that administrators could not support his actions because the stop was not pre-approved.
"The actions he took were his own actions. They were not approved by the school or by the district. Both those entities do not condone what he did. The students were on a field trip to go see a play at the Hale Centre Theatre, they were not on a field trip to go see a political rally downtown."
Tim DeChristopher is currently on trial for allegedly "faking the purchase of $1.7 million of federal oil-and-gas drilling leases in an act of civil disobedience," according to the Associated Press. His actions have attracted environmentalist support, with hundreds protesting outside the courthouse where his trial is taking place.
Pleune told ABC 4 that if he didn't stop he believed it would be a detriment to the students' education, regardless of political associations.
"I do feel like it's a disservice not to show them things that are current, that are going on... some people label them as political and then they get really afraid of that."
Other teachers were present when Pleune showed students the protests. According to ABC 4, however, they have not yet been disciplined.
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