UPDATE: DeKalb County Schools Superintendent says striking bus drivers breaking the law
DeKalb County Schools Superintendent Stephen Green warned bus drivers on Thursday that their “sick out” protest over pay and benefits is in violation of state law.
Later in the day, the the school system announced that afternoon bus service on April 19 would be delayed by 60 to 90 minutes.
The school system said some bus drivers called in sick today and warned parents that the drivers may do the same thing on Friday and Monday. Some buses were late picking up students this morning.
“The DeKalb County School District’s first priority will always be the safety its students,” Green said in a statement released to the media. “To those bus drivers who performed their duties today, who assured such safety was maintained, thank you. You have shown the district good faith in addressing your concerns without sacrificing your duty.
“To those who opted not to come to work today—you have willingly put our students in harm’s way. This is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. Also, per Georgia law, it is illegal for any public employee to ‘promote, encourage, or participate in any strike.’ The District would be well within its rights to take adverse employment action against any driver who participates in a “sick-out,” as opposed to being absent for legitimately being too ill to report to work.”
The county schools says it will require a doctor’s note for every day missed. The county also said other transportation department employees are being harassed.
“We have received reports that employees within the Transportation Department are being threatened, harassed, and/or bullied,” Green said. “Per board policy, this type of behavior by any employee of the district will not be tolerated. Alleged violations of this policy will be investigated and, [if] it is determined that a violation has occurred, appropriate disciplinary action will be taken.
“Again, our first priority is, has been, and always will be the safety of our students. To assure such safety, it requires everyone to work together toward a common goal. At DeKalb County School District, that goal is deep teaching and learning. Today’s actions have proven that we will maintain that goal regardless of the adversity of a select few.”
The Atlanta Journal Constitution says the bus drivers are frustrated about a range of issues. To read that story, click here.
Following Green’s statement, DeKalb County Schools sent this email to parents:
We apologize for any inconvenience the bus driver sick out has caused you and your family today, April 19, 2018.
Superintendent R. Stephen Green and the administration continue to meet with bus drivers and transportation staff in partnership to address their concerns.
If your child is a bus rider, you can expect a 60 to 90 minute delay for the afternoon bus routes. There could also be possible delays to and from afternoon athletic events.
Parents and guardians of bus riders are free to pick up their children from school if they so choose and are able.
Once again, please know that DCSD’s top priority is safety and getting your children to and from school safely. Thank you for your continued support of the DeKalb County School District.