Many Parents Upset By Sick-Out
Posted September 29, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH — They came from home or work -- wherever they could be found.
Parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles all over Wake County got the call from school Monday afternoon. They learned that their loved ones were stuck at school.
Monday's bus driver sick-out was aimed at the Wake County School System, but it may have hit parents and kids the hardest. Hundreds of kids were stranded for a couple of hours after school. By late afternoon, most of the kids had found a ride home, but some were still waiting for a lift.
On Tuesday morning, no Wake County drivers called in sick and buses rolled on time, school officials said, one day after scrapping a new pay plan to attract new drivers, a plan that backfired for all practical purposes.
On Monday at Powell Elementary, office workers spent much of the afternoon on the phone, trying to locate rides for the stranded children. Ken Coyner's grandchild was one of the kids that had to be picked up. He said that the sick-out is a bad lesson for the kids.
At Enloe High School, there more kids and more problems. The few bus drivers who did show up had to pull double or triple shifts as administrators scurried to get the kids home. More than 80 drivers called in sick Monday afternoon.
Enloe student Sunil Nagaraj was one of the hundreds of people left waiting for rides. He hopes that Wake County's schoolbus crisis is quickly resolved.
Kids at Carnage Middle School were stuck, as well. Tim Pulse had to come and pick up his daughter. The Pulse family lives in Holly Springs -- a long haul to his kid's south Raleigh school. He says that today's sick-out was more than an inconvenience.
Some parents were in support of the bus drivers efforts. Still, many upset parents spent Monday evening waiting for news on what Tuesday morning would bring.