SAN DIEGO - A San Diego Unified School District bus driver, whose vanity license plate on his car is causing outrage, has been suspended, and 10News learned the state Department of Motor Vehicles is asking that he surrender the plates.
The driver's plate has two words, "not see" -- a slight spelling variation for "Nazi," a word that represents racism and persecution. Above the plate is a swastika.
On Wednesday, 10News learned the DMV canceled the license plates and asked the owner, identified as Kearny Mesa resident Shawn Calpito, to return them.
A viewer sent in a photo of the plate, and 10News ran it through the DMV to track down Calpito. 10News knocked on Calpito's door on Tuesday, but he did not answer. The person who sent 10News the photo of the license plate confirmed Calpito is the man behind it.
Calpito may have found out 10News was on to him on Tuesday because when we found his car, the front and back plates had been taken down. 10News also found his Facebook page, apparently just a few minutes before he took it down. When we went back to it, it was gone.
"This is a guy who is promoting racial hatred," said civil rights attorney Jim McElroy.
As a San Diego Unified bus driver, Calpito works with dozens of kids each day.
Ian Seruello, whose child rides a bus, said, "Hopefully my kids wouldn't ride on his bus. I mean, I would prefer the bus driver who doesn't espouse those ideas."
Another parent added, "Yeah, he could influence them. He could say certain things. They know what they're doing. They know how to brainwash. They know how to do these things."
"It offends me, personally," Barbara Vickers told 10News. "He doesn't have to change his opinion, but just think of what he's doing for a job."
The DMV regulates every vanity license plate, but McElroy said, "This one is so subtle that without the other symbol, there's no way for someone regulating this to realize this is supporting Nazis."
Some may argue the man has a right to free speech.
"This is not what I would call a legitimate political belief, this is hatred," said McElroy. "The Nazis annihilated six million Jews."
Sources told 10News there have been several complaints at the district's transportation facility about Calpito's car. Sources said the license plate was only recently added, but the swastika has been on Calpito's BMW for months.
10News has tried repeatedly to reach Calpito by going to his home, but he has not come forward to tell his story.
District officials issued the following brief statement regarding Calpito and the license plate:
"This concern was brought to the district's attention yesterday. School bus driver Shawn Calpito has been placed on leave pending investigation."
Tammy Gillies, the regional director of the Anti-Defamation League San Diego, told 10News, "We are very pleased with the swift action of the school district."