- The Washington Times - Monday, December 6, 2004

GRAND ISLAND, N.Y. (AP) — An elementary-school bus driver was fired after sharing a statistic she had read about embryonic stem-cell research with students, then encouraging them to tell their parents about it.

Julianne Thompson, 42, told students last month that actor Mel Gibson had said in an article that embryonic stem-cell research had not produced a single human cure in 23 years.

Some parents complained, and school officials in the Buffalo suburb fired the driver.

Superintendent Thomas Ramming said employees generally are told that political and religious discussions should be confined to a classroom setting, where different viewpoints can be presented.

Mrs. Thompson said there is nothing in her contract that prohibits her from expressing facts or opinions. She is considering legal action, saying officials have yet to explain why her comments were inappropriate.

“I learned that free speech is definitely not free,” Mrs. Thompson said.

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