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Disgruntled Livingston bus drivers refused to show up Friday, causing havoc for some schools

1 year 8 months 21 hours ago Friday, October 21 2022 Oct 21, 2022 October 21, 2022 12:38 PM October 21, 2022 in News
Source: WBRZ

LIVINGSTON - Multiple Livingston Parish schools advised parents to drive their kids home Friday after hearing a group of disgruntled bus drivers threatened not to work their routes in protest.

Livingston Parish Public Schools released a statement Friday evening saying 21 of the school system's 300 bus drivers didn't show up to work that afternoon.

Read the school board's full statement below:

Twenty-one of 300 bus drivers in Livingston Parish did not report for work today (Friday, Oct. 21) to run their afternoon routes as part of an apparent protest for less work and higher pay, according to messages to parents by some drivers.

The absences primarily impacted the Livingston and Walker communities, which accounted for 19 of the 21 absences.

School officials said most of the absences were reported after the workday began on Friday. Some drivers sent text messages to the parents of the children who ride their busses through the district’s 'Remind' system. None of the drivers contacted the district administration to report their absence or to formally file a reason for their absence, other than entering a sick day on the LPPS Frontline program.

'The district was able to fill one of the absent bus driver’s routes with another driver. In other cases, existing drivers were available to cover some of the abandoned routes. Where routes could not be covered, the schools contacted parents to make arrangements for those children to be picked up, or in some cases, have another school employee transport them home with parental permission,' Superintendent Joe Murphy said.

'No child was left unattended,' he added. 'At every affected campus, our school administrators and teachers stayed with those students until proper transportation was available – either by being picked up by a family member or by being transported home by a school official.'

Murphy noted that some of the drivers wrote in their personal messages that they plan to not report for work on Monday (Oct.24).

'To address this threat, our district transportation staff and our school leaders will be contacting all our Driver Team leaders to determine how many bus routes might be affected on Monday, and from there we will determine if those routes can be appropriately covered by other drivers. If there are cases where that is not possible, our school principals will contact parents Sunday evening to make them aware of the situation,' Murphy said.

He also recommended that parents check social media pages of their child’s school, as well as the district’s social media pages, for information on bus routes.

'I want to thank those drivers and our employees who worked with our children and our parents to ensure every child impacted by these absent bus drivers was accounted for, was kept safe, and was ultimately delivered home,' Murphy said.

Earlier Friday, several schools reported problems with their bus routes and told parents they may need to arrange another way to get their children home.

One of the schools warned on Facebook that students could be "very late" getting home due to the driver shortage.

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