Thursday, January 27, 2011

Update on the Bus driver & the Peach story: She has been reinstated. Anyone surprised?

On the road again: Bus driver back on her UISD job

This in an update to a post about a week ago. Laredotejas had reported the story of a UISD bus driver who was suspended without pay for two days in August. Her infraction was simply that she accepted some peach seedlings from a grateful parent. In some good news, the driver, Maria de los Angeles Cazares has been reinstated and assigned to her previous route, from which she had been removed. Once again, we refer to Nick Georgiou of the Laredo Morning Times. This in an excerpt from his article:

 UISD trustees heard Cazares’ grievance in closed session last week. When they reconvened in open session, they unanimously voted to reimburse her for the two-day suspension and reinstate her on the same special education route or an equivalent one.

The incident happened in June, when Cazares accepted the three peach tree seedling from a parent. She received them after dropping off the parent’s son while on her special education route. Conners, her attorney, wrote in a grievance document that Cazares did not ask for them, but accepted them as a “token of appreciation.” She then put them in the empty seat behind the driver’s seat and dropped off the remaining students on the bus.

A week later, Claudia Perez, UISD transportation fleet supervisor, questioned the gift after apparently reviewing the video surveillance on the bus, Conners wrote. The matter appeared to have been cleared up, but when Cazares returned from summer break, she received the letter from Garcia saying she was to be suspended and placed on a different bus route.

In her grievance, Cazares wrote that she was being retaliated against for reporting misconduct and policy violations allegedly committed by other bus drivers and aides. Conners also wrote that she has no “at fault” accidents involving a school bus, has good overall evaluations and no record of significant problems with her job performance.

Congratulations to UISD board of trustees for ruling in Ms. Cazares' favor. The grievance process at both school districts needs to be completely overhauled so that it becomes a process that's actually objective and not merely an exercise in rubber stamping.

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