Indiana Public Schools officials scrambled to get students home from school after nearly 80 bus drivers did not show up for work Friday, spurred on by frustrations over state changes to unemployment benefits.
IPS Spokesman John Althardt says the bus drivers began calling in around noon to say they were not coming to work. He says officials asked parents to pick their kids up from school if possible. Otherwise, students were delayed by at least two hours as officials work to get students home safely by bus.
The action affected nearly 12,000 students who ride the bus at IPS. Althardt says the drivers decision is disappointing, calling it an inconvenience to both parents and children.
“Durham has no control over determinations made by the State,” Durahm School Services said in a statement. “We support our employees in obtaining unemployment benefits. It is unfortunate some bus drivers are not showing up for work and putting their interests ahead of the well being of the students. We remain committed to the students of Indianapolis, and are working hard this afternoon with the School District to get all students home safely.”
Students who rode buses arrived home anywhere from a few minutes to a couple hours later than normal unless their parents came to pick them up.
Dolores Sangster, principal of Elder W. Diggs School 42, says she was notified of the sick out around 2 p.m. Friday and immediately put together an emergency plan. When only a couple of buses showed up on time for the school‘s 3:30 p.m. dismissal, Sangster says they doubled up students on those buses, then sent more students home on other buses as they trickled in throughout the afternoon.
Teachers and school staffers agreed to stay at the school until all the students made it home.