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.