School Bus Company Cancels Its Contract With The St. Louis Public Schools Early Over Noose Incident

( — A school bus company canceled its contract with public schools in St. Louis, Missouri, following an incident involving a noose found near an employee’s work area. Missouri Central School Bus Co. opted out of its ongoing school contract after a black employee discovered a noose near his workstation, which prompted a massive walkout from employees. The early contract termination could result in more than 300 lost jobs, but the school bus company remains adamant about canceling its contract with St. Louis schools.

The incident that partially led to the contract termination occurred when Amin Mitchell, a black employee working for Missouri Central School Bus Co., found a noose near his work area. Mitchell said it was a deliberate attempt to convey a racist message aimed at him. Mitchell had recently voiced concerns about the brake quality of Missouri Central School Bus Co. buses, leading to a heated argument with his boss. However, he did not directly accuse anyone of leaving the noose.

The noose incident immediately drew comparisons to a similar scandal involving NASCAR racer Bubba Wallace, who made national headlines after he claimed he found a noose in his team’s garage. Wallace said the noose had been left to intimidate him and provided multiple interviews with outlets like CNN about the incident. The FBI began an investigation into the incident and determined the rope (it was not formed into a noose) had been there for months before the incident, causing some to doubt Wallace’s story about suffering from a hate crime.

Mitchell shared videos of the noose on Facebook after discovering it, causing an immediate scandal that resulted in a massive walkout for school bus drivers. More than 100 bus drivers refused to drive buses for several days following the incident, forcing parents to find alternative transport methods for their children. The drivers who participated in the walkout were members of a union that didn’t allow workplace strikes, so each driver claimed they experienced sickness or other problems that reduced their ability to work. The walkout affected the community substantially, and local members of Missouri’s NAACP chapter advocated for an investigation into the noose incident.

According to a spokesperson for the Missouri Central School Bus Co., the company began investigating the incident and is compiling a report regarding the scandal. Spokesperson Cordell Whitlock claims that the school bus company hired a third party to investigate the noose incident to avoid any potential bias from people associated with the company. Despite the incident causing a poor relationship between the company and St. Louis schools, the contract cancellation primarily stems from a disagreement regarding monetary value.

According to Scott Allen, a Missouri Central School Bus Co. manager, the contract fell apart after the company requested an additional $2 million for various reasons. The company cited inflation and an ongoing employee shortage as legitimate concerns for the business, but the school refused to pay the requested amount. The contract remains effective until the end of the current school year, so parents won’t have to worry about transporting their children unless the school district fails to find replacement buses before the fall semester.