A school bus driver in Minot who was allegedly fired for using inappropriate language is now a member of the school board that terminated his employment.

68-year-old Mike Downing lost his job in January for making insensitive comments. According to the Sun Journal, he used racial slurs when describing Martin Luther King Jr. Day and referred to both Superintendent Tina Meserve and School Board Chairwoman Mary Martin with a sexist slur.

Since his dismissal, and the reasons for it, were never made public, many residents believed he had retired. When they've approached Downing about it, he says he tells them he was fired for 'being bad.' But the former driver believes that he was fired for helping to form a union which is now helping him as he considers suing the school system for wrongful termination.

On March 2nd, three seats were open on the RSU 16 school board, with two incumbents running for re-election and a third incumbent choosing to step down. Downing threw his hat in the ring just a couple of days before the election and ended up winning a position on the school board, representing the school district that had fired him.

He tells the Sun Journal that this isn't a vendetta and that the truly wants to make improvements to a system he sees as flawed. But, Downing says, if he feels it's more trouble than it's worth, he will step down.

The Sun Journal has not received any comment from Meserve or Martin.

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