GREENVILLE – Greenville City School administrators and board members heard from the district’s bus drivers during the public portion of the Feb. 20 board meeting.
Patricia Martin, spokesperson for the bus drivers, addressed the board, telling them they may not be aware of the “distracted driving” being implemented by drivers due to students’ inappropriate behavior while riding the bus.
“There’s been an increasing problem of us driving distracted,” Martin said. “Every driver has had to deal with unruly children that put everyone on the bus and those who are in its proximity in grave danger.”
Some students, Martin said, have experienced up to 15 write-ups before any action is being taken, although the district policy states after three write-ups a student is reported to their building principal on their next infraction.
Not only are students causing problems with other bus riders, they also are “bullying drivers,” Martin said.
“At what point do we consider the safety of the students, drivers and the public?”
Martin also shared she and her fellow drivers understood the importance of having all students in school to honor the state’s mandatory attendance requirements.
However, Martin said, she was unsure administrators and board members understood the dangerous actions drivers were being forced to implement when students who had been banned from bus privileges were being allowed to ride anyway to meet the state attendance criteria.
Martin reminded board members the district had lost two drivers this school year due to the behavioral issues with students.
“Now we are at risk of losing additional drivers because of on-going issues.”
While there were several bus drivers in attendance Thursday, 20 drivers signed the statement Martin read to the board.
“We have gone through the proper chain of command. We have talked with our supervisor, our Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) which also includes Mr. (Jeff) Cassell, we really feel that we need to come before you and ask for your attention to this matter,” the statement reads.
Superintendent Doug Fries thanked Martin and the bus drivers for their input and on Tuesday told DarkeCountyMedia.com “I have met with the transportation director and principals and the bus drivers concern has been addressed moving forward. Safety is always a priority for everyone in the district at all times,” Fries said.
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