October 8, 2014 5:05 pm ET
School board turns a deaf ear as school bus violence gets out of control. Drivers fear for safety
PART 1 OF A CONTINUING SERIES
Blogger’s Note: Warning, some language may be offensive to some
A while back, I received several phone calls regarding a group of bus drivers who were crying out for help. They said their pleas were falling on deaf ears in the county. So, we worked out some details, and I invited them to my home and let them tell, in their own words, their stories.
What I heard was shocking, to say the least.
The tales I was told were those of violence and an unresponsive school board which chose to ignore the problem in deference to a politically correct agenda.
I had heard there was a recent meeting regarding this issue at Parkville. I have made numerous attempts to contact a spokesperson regarding the meeting, but all that happened was that I was told that “someone would be in touch.”
As per the usual, that did not happen.
Instead, I used the words of the drivers to guide my knowledge of the issue. I share those words here so that you can get the same understanding. Please note that the words below are those of the drivers; my input is kept at a minimum to allow the graphic experiences to paint the picture of people putting their lives—and the lives of children—at risk because the school board does not have the guts to deal with the problem.
Here are their stories:
“You know, I had a kid throw a soda can at my head. The kid wanted to kill me. From the back of the bus, he threw that can through the windshield.”
“Let me tell you what they tell us. Baltimore County doesn’t want to cause any waves. You know how many times I have been to court over parents attempting to attack me because we attempt to control the children for their own safety?
On one occasion, I was sitting at a stop with my foot on the brake. As children were boarding the bus, a woman parent came up into the bus yelling, ‘You f**king b*tch, I’ll kick you’re a**.” I was leaning back trying to hold my foot on the brake. The attendant came from the back of the bus and ordered the lady off the bus. I drove down the road and pulled over and called my supervisor. They couldn’t find him. The dispatcher told me to return to the school.
When I pulled in, the woman and her 350-pound husband were there waiting and no one from the school was there. The husband started yelling the same language that his wife did. He was going to kick my a**.
I ran into the school and told my supervisor and they did nothing. I was going to call the police and was told not to. When I finally got hold of my supervisor, his response was that, unfortunately, we have to deal with these issues.”
Folks, that driver went out on sick leave, and this was not the first encounter with an out of control parent that the driver had to deal with, including physical injury as a result of an attack.
What’s worse is that I was told the county will take the student off one bus and put them on another.
The student that threw the can was restrained by other staff and put out the back door, only to charge toward the front and attempt to get back on and attack the driver.
When asked what the county does with the reports, another driver said that the “powers that be” cover everything up because the county doesn’t want the public to hear anything negative.
The bus driver who encountered this violence was not allowed back into school because such drivers “cause waves.”
It should be noted that the students on the buses are a mixture of special needs and regular students. The county does make an attempt to keep them separate, but this is not always the case.
Blogger’s Note: This comment may be offensive to some:
A driver started to describe one of the special education students’ dirty habits on the bus. Apparently, the student had a habit of digging out of human excrement and smearing it on the bus windows, seats, and ceiling.
That is truly disturbing.
And, to add insult to injury, the board does not supply the drivers or attendants with any cleaning chemicals to deal with these types of issues.
The driver spoke with a nurse and was told that spreading around human waste is very dangerous to anyone on the bus at that time because of the potential to contract communicable diseases.
Again, when the driver approached the school, the driver was told to ignore the incident. Additionally, the school does not alert the drivers to any potential issues they may face. The school felt that, by ignoring it, the problem would go away on its own.
When I asked what happens to the reports of violence onboard the buses, another driver said, “There are three copies that we fill out and submit to the school, and I have never heard back on anyone of the ones I filed.”
Another driver said the school is supposed to provide the driver with the outcome of the actions taken to correct the problem. The driver said that the school usually contacts the parents and tells them that they must deal with the issue.
But, as we have seen, that does not work very well.
The Master Agreement between the Board of Education of Baltimore County and Council 67/Local 434 of the AFL-CIO states the following:
Safety and Health
1. Should an employee feel that a safety problem exist, he/she should report it immediately to his/her immediate supervisor or designee. The supervisor or designee shall reassign the employee until the condition is inspected. An inspection of the condition will be made as soon as possible. The employee involved shall be advised of the results of the inspection. The board will continue to provide and maintain safety equipment and promote safe working conditions.
More on this matter to come. Stay tuned…