HOUSTON -- HISD school bus drivers and their supporters held a prayer vigil outside school district headquarters on Tuesday in a display of faith fueled by outrage.
“It’s a dumb thing for them to say they don’t want a bus driver to pray on the bus,” said Wretha Thomas, the bus driver’s union president. “When you get out on that freeway, you need prayer.”
The controversy stems from a car accident a few weeks back that claimed the life of a 12-year-old girl. Her mother, an HISD bus driver was devastated by the news. And some of her fellow bus drivers decided to pray for her over their 2-way radios. Then each of them received write-ups in their files for misusing school equipment.
“If you’re going to tell me anything about me, tell me about the good I’ve done for HISD,” said bus driver Cynthia Cormier. “Don’t pull out any paper or pen and use it against me.”
“I just think it’s unjust,” another driver added.
According to the bus drivers, they only turned to their radios to pray after a supervisor refused to provide them with a quiet room and a counselor to talk things over with. But the school district released a statement citing policy that said; “All radio communications are to be used for HISD purposes only, to ensure the safety of students and employees.”
But that’s not good enough according to newly-elected school board member Wanda Adams who believes the policy ought to be flexible.
“Because it could have been their daughter and it could have been their son,” said Adams. “And the first thing they would have done is pick up a phone and call their pastor and say would you pray for me.”
Not only do the drivers and their supporters want that disciplinary action to be reversed, but they’re also demanding to have a sit down meeting with the school district superintendent.”
“We also want him to address why HISD didn’t provide counseling for the bus drivers,” said Tammie Campbell of the Honey Brown Hope Foundation.
In the meantime, the drivers said they would continue to pray both on and off the bus.