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DeKalb County School Bus Drivers Protest In Sickout

DeKalb County school officials said 42 percent of drivers didn’t come to work Thursday. The bus drivers are calling it a sickout amid a protest for better wages and benefits.
DeKalb County school officials said 42 percent of drivers didn’t come to work Thursday. The bus drivers are calling it a sickout amid a protest for better wages and benefits.
Credit Ross Terrell / WABE

DeKalb County school bus drivers went on strike Thursday. Superintendent Stephen Green issued a stern warning to the close to 400 drivers who didn’t show up to work.

District officials said 42 percent of drivers didn’t come to work. Region 4 suffered the greatest shortage as 78 drivers weren’t present to pick up kids Thursday morning.

Superintendent Stephen Green issued a warning to the DeKalb County school bus drivers who didn’t show up to work. “This is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. Your actions will have consequences.” (Ross Terrell/WABE)

The bus drivers are calling it a sickout amid a protest for better wages and benefits. Green said they had some other concerns such as road conditions, lighting at certain bus stops and their retirement funds.

But Green said going on strike wouldn’t help their cause.

“You have willingly put our students in harm’s way,” Green said at a news conference Thursday. “And that is a big issue for me and this board and this administration. This is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. Your actions will have consequences.”

He said those consequences could range from being reprimanded to even possible firing.

The sickout is planned to last from Thursday until Monday.

“Continuing this strike actually does hurt them, seriously so,” Green said about the planned timeline. “That is if they want to be employed in the DeKalb County School District.”

Some kids had to wait up to an hour before being picked up Thursday morning. Green also apologized to parents who had to bring their kids to school. He said this is currently a testing period, but tests have been pushed back to the afternoon to accommodate for the expected delay.

Green also said there would be no consequences if students are absent or show up late as a result of the strike.

The school buses serve 66,500 riders.