Jason Gonzales at the Tennessean has a report out today that shows that there have been almost 400 complaints on MNPS bus drivers from August to January. These complaints range from not picking up students at the correct bus stop to some very serious accusations.
One case in the six-month span included an allegation against a bus driver of inappropriate communication with a student.
“Mom wants to report what she thinks may be suspicious activity between her 17-year-old daughter and her bus driver ‘Mr. Q.’ Mom says the driver bought her daughter a cell phone. Mom has the phone and found text messages between the two saying: ‘I’m thinking about you’ and ‘what are you doing,'” the January complaint reads.
“Also, she says that the driver has given her daughter money.”
MNPS doesn’t track the resolutions to these complaints so there is no information on if theses accusations were dealt with. Another accusation seems to read like the bus driver was okay with students fighting.
“(Parent) states when her son was on the bus in the afternoon route … three male students told her son they were going to jump him. The driver told the students, ‘whatever you do off the bus is up to you.’ Parent states after students got off the bus they jumped her son and busted his head. She feels the driver encouraged the students to jump her son, and didn’t do anything to prevent the incident,” a parent complaint to Metro Schools file in September says.
The board and district must act quickly in finding a solution to this problem and investigate all complaints. If bus drivers are having inappropriate relationships with students and encouraging violence, the punishment should be swift and harsh.
Thousands of students ride the bus each and every day. Their safety should be the top priority. This will now be the district’s top priority thanks to the reporting of Jason Gonzales. It shouldn’t have taken this long.
Palacios said the request of records for bus driver complaints “has been enlightening and identified as a serious priority” by the district. The management tool to monitor how resolutions came about from complaints would also be able to monitor discipline trends and how many drivers were disciplined, she said.
You can read the full article here.
School board member Will Pinkston responded to the story on twitter.
Uncharacteristically good reporting by
@Tennessean. I’ve been complaining about stuff like this since 2014. I’m glad @MetroSchools is under new management. The new team is fixing broken processes and creating new processes where none existed. Logical follow-up reporting would be: Jesse Register systematically cut wages and hours @MetroSchools bus drivers, causing many of the most experienced drivers to go elsewhere and leaving the remaining drivers overworked and stressed out. He left behind a mess.
The blame Register excuse is getting old from the school board. Jesse Register left Metro Nashville Public Schools on June 30, 2015. MNPS has been without Register for 633 days. The fault from this falls squarely on MNPS and the school board. Acknowledge the issue, fix it, and move on to the next set of issues facing our school system. Don’t spend time blaming others when you have the power to make changes yourself but failed to do so.
Blaming the problems of now on a leader who left 633 days ago is poor leadership.
Nashville school board member Pinkston has responded via twitter:
Sounds like the nitwits are coming unglued and trying to blame the bus driver stuff on me. Let’s be clear about who did what and when. Let’s not forget who
@tennessean attacked for meeting with bus drivers to discuss their poor working conditions.
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