KISD

A Killeen Independent School District school bus is seen driving on Atkinson Avenue in March 2021.

To the Editor:

Since the new school year began, reports of school bus driver shortages have been popping up.

Not just at KISD, but throughout Texas and across the country.

I was curious as to the reasons other school districts were having trouble hiring and retaining drivers.

With the help of YouTube, I watched six videos regarding the driver shortage in various cities across the country.

In Atlanta, it was about the money. In Chicago, 90 drivers quit, rather than get the mandated COVID shot.

In the other cities, no particular reasons were given for driver shortages.

One city had 70 drivers quit on the first day of school.

All of these cities had to modify or cancel routes.

Some districts called on former drivers to come out of retirement until things improved.

Locally, KDH reporter Lauren Dodd did a series of articles a while back regarding this very problem.

Myself, along with several past and current drivers, voiced our opinions about problems with KISD Transportation.

Out of numerous complaints, only the issue of overcrowded buses received a response.

KISD didn’t deny the claim of a toxic work environment. Where drivers are written up or fired at the drop of a hat to appease some entitled parent.

The district did later address the claim of low pay by giving drivers a substantial pay raise.

While a nice move, it doesn’t address the root cause of the problem.

So, what is the root problem? I believe that because KISD has pretty much stripped drivers of all authority other than assigning seats, students have no fear and no respect for any driver.

It is perfectly OK to cuss out a driver with the knowledge that it’s highly unlikely that anything will come of it.

A threat of a write-up is usually met with “I don’t care.”

This problem is generally limited to middle school students.

These same students are not above making up some story in an attempt to get a driver in trouble.

They usually tell their mom, who gets into mama bear mode, and she wants someone fired.

Until the bus video is viewed, you are guilty as charged.

Even after you’re cleared, there’s no apology. And no punishment for the student.

Until KISD grows a spine, and gives bus drivers back the power to remove problem students, I don’t see things getting better.

Parents need to be reminded that riding the bus is a privilege. Treat it as such and get your kids to act right.

Bill Paquette

Killeen

(3) comments

Michael Fornino

There is no untruth to what Mr. Paquette says here.

KISD is deathly afraid of disciplining their students. With a pattern of no consequences - the "community" is shocked, shocked I tell you...when their first taste of discipline / right and wrong is sitting in the back of a KPD police car in cuffs and charged with a crime that will cost them 15 to 20 years of their lives.

Drivers, by default, are to blame for everything. I drove for KISD for a short time. Kid acts up, but makes a complaint about the driver - audio and video are magically "corrupted" and unavailable - so they default to the kid is right.

Had one disruptive and unsafe "passenger" threaten to shoot me / or have his father meet me at the bus stop and shoot me. Video review clearly showed this with crystal clear audio. Supervisors stated "Well, we don't hear that - and even if that's what he meant - it's nothing to be concerned with". The "write up" was totally ignored on that one, too.

One particular incident, during inclement weather...bus full of unruly students, I turned the bus around and went back to the school. I couldn't see out the windows, and especially the rear windows due to students not sitting in seats. The DIRECTOR of transportation at the time told me...a fully certified CLASS A license holder with about a half million miles under me previously...

"Seeing out of the rear window isn't that important".

I'm sorry, but when your passengers are creating Dot violations, basic lack of common sense and safety - YOU, the DRIVER get the hit on your license and record.

Greyhound or any charter bus would discharge you and leave you on the side of road for that kind of stuff. Similar disruptions on aircraft or trains will get you jailed.

While I was in training and learning routes, one "student" was pointed out to me as having previously discharged a firearm into the ground at a stop after being dropped off. After a few months of "alternative school", he was allowed back on the bus.

Really? Student discharges a firearm, and the "discipline" given was a few months at a different school?

After I quit, I delivered two items to Killeen Daily Herald. One was my driver's guide / rule book. Pretty thick binder with all sorts of rules and regulations. The other was the "student bus rules" which was barely a two page "pamphlet" in large print.

KISD already doesn't have much credibility. Their "communications" chief spends more time in Waco than Killeen, and likes to beat her husband. Senior "leadership" forges their qualifications with nobody bothering to check before he gets caught.

KIDS students run the schools, not the Board of Education or the teachers.

dailymajor

This person is so correct about a major problem for all bus drivers in KISD. If there is a problem, it is always assumed the driver's fault..until without a doubt, it is proven otherwise..even then, just the shadow of being accused is bad enough stain on the driver with administrators, who do no wrong...... Add to the discipline problems concerning students, as well as parents..getting the bus before daylight at times, sometimes during very cold and/or raining mornings, driving in that bad weather,... cleaning/checking the bus at the end of the run, checking the bus in the morning, making sure everything is right, schedules and routes being changed, and absolutely no appreciation shown by the higher ups...being a bus driver for most, is not a very attractive, rewarding job...at all. No wonder it is so hard to get drivers.

don76550

I couldnd't agree more

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.