The Killeen Independent School District responded Friday and Monday to the Herald’s report on deceased bus driver William “Bill” Jones’ family’s account of the events surrounding Jones’ death last fall.
Killeen ISD bus driver Jones died by suicide less than 24 hours after he was terminated by Killeen ISD following an accident involving a middle school student and a Ford F-150 on the first day of in-person school. Read more here: https://bit.ly/39Knjsa.
The Herald received responses from the district to a number of questions, including Jones’ termination report, via email at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, but Herald staffers did not see the email until Monday morning.
When asked who fired Jones, the district said, “The Auxiliary Human Resources Director and the Transportation Director signed the separation letter.”
A one-page employee exit report was provided to the Herald late Friday afternoon. The report includes illegible signatures of two district personnel dated Sept. 1, the day Mr. Jones was fired from the transportation department after 12 years with the district.
The space where the terminated employee’s signature should be reads “unavailable for signature” and is dated Sept. 2, the day after Jones’ death. Jones died by suicide at Cedar Gap Park in Harker Heights on Sept. 1.
Rolland Jones, the son of the deceased bus driver, told the Herald he felt “stonewalled” by the district after his father’s death, with emails and phone calls going unanswered. Read more here: https://bit.ly/3cPtJIv.
The district disputed the younger Jones’ claim Monday.
“Mr. Rolland Jones’ allegations that he has reached out to KISD and never received a response from the district is not true,” Killeen ISD spokeswoman Taina Maya said by email Monday. “I have personally corresponded with him a few times and I know (Deputy Superintendent) Dr. (Eric) Penrod has also spoken to him a couple of times.”
Rolland Jones responded to Killeen ISD's comments Tuesday.
"I just read KISD's response that called my integrity into question which I expected," Jones said via email Tuesday. "Two auto-generated responses from their email system and one return phone call saying they sympathize and would look into the matter and get back to me does not constitute effective nor meaningful dialogue. I left voicemails after the emails (all unanswered). Also interesting to note the absence of a signature on the exit form. The truth speaks for itself."
When asked for further comment on the matter Monday, Maya said the district does not “have any further comment outside of what was released earlier this school year.”
Maya included the following statement the district released at the time of Jones’ death last fall.
“The situation is very unfortunate,” Maya said. “We are respectful and sorrowful for all parties involved in this tragic chain of events. We are dedicated to working diligently and compassionately towards providing all parties resolve. We hope the student continues on the path to an expedient recovery, the family finds comfort, and all those involved are able to find peace. This situation remains a very unfortunate accident.”