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Tuesday, May 22, 2018
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Hernando bus driver fired after positive amphetamine test

BROOKSVILLE – A school bus driver who runs a route for Moton Elementary was fired last week for failing a random drug screen Dec. 9.

School Superintendent Lori Romano recommended Michael Hechler, of Spring Hill, be fired during a Feb. 18 school board meeting for testing positive for amphetamine, district documents show.

The board unanimously approved Romano’s recommendation, and Hechler’s employment with the district ended Feb. 19, district documents show.

Prior to that, Hechler was placed on alternate assignment, according to district documents.

Hechler wrote in a letter to the district that the positive result on the random drug screen may have been the result of medications he was taking at the time, which were prescribed by his doctor.

A list of medications Hechler faxed to the district after the incident show eight medications in total.

“The medications prescribed by my physician has no way impaired me or kept me from performing my job safely,” Hechler wrote, noting he has driven for the district four years with no prior disciplinary action taken against him. “As any person in the medical field will inform you,.the list of side effects that are given on the informational sheets do not happen to all people. They are listed solely for the purpose of informing the patients of what could happen, which in no way predetermines that it will for any given person.”

During a January predetermination meeting, district officials said Hechler should have disclosed what medications he was taking to the transportation department since he is in a safety sensitive position as a driver.

District officials also singled out medications during that meeting that had side effects that might impair one’s reaction time or thinking, documents show.

Hechler also said during that meeting he does not exceed the prescribed dosage.

“As a bus driver, I just didn’t want the parents to find out,” Hechler said, according to transcripts. “I just thought it wasn’t anybody’s business.”

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