School Bus Drivers Say Students Will Face Safety Risks With New Drivers

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(Memphis) Shelby County Schools bus driver Roger Christopher says parents need to know exactly what they're getting when the county hires an outside company to bus kids to and from school.

“We've had accidents and most of those aren't coming from our drivers," said Christopher.

He and a handful of other bus drivers spoke out at a community budget meeting Monday night where district budget staff broke down the money they need to save, and exactly how they're going to do it.

The plan includes hiring private companies to pick up kids for school and selling all the current buses for a profit.

School board president Kevin Woods says no one wants to lay off bus drivers, but the private companies can do it much cheaper than the school district, “They're responsible for benefits, retirements, all we want to do is make sure kids get to school safely."

The bus drivers say they are educators too, and concerned about more than just getting kids to school but doing it safely and making sure they're learning.

“We are the first thing those children see in the morning when they get on the bus and the last thing they see in the afternoon”, said one bus driver. “Sometimes those children don't ever get a hug or a smile or a have a good day."

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