HISD bus drivers in trouble for praying over two-way radios

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by Rucks Russell / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on December 20, 2013 at 11:16 PM

Updated Saturday, Dec 21 at 2:06 PM

HOUSTON -- Out of all of the things that can distract a bus driver and place children in danger, Cynthia Cormier believes praying isn’t one of them.

“We just come together as one. It may not be what a lot of people are used to doing but from my point of view, I just have a heart,” Cormier said.

So on Wednesday, Cormier and several other HISD bus drivers prayed over their two-way radios. They claim they did this to support a co-worker who had just lost her daughter, a 12-year-old girl who had succumbed to injuries she sustained in a car accident.

“This was the only thing we could do to support one another,” said Debra McDonald. “By praying to God.”

The drivers said they prayed for about 5 minutes and then continued their routes. Later that day, they were stunned to receive a write-up accusing them of violating district policy.

“I just wish they had a little more compassion for the driver,” said Lizzie Revels.

HISD spokesperson Denisse Cantu, citing policy, released the following statement:

“As stated in the HISD Transportation Handbook policy and in accordance with the FCC law, all radio communications are to be used for HISD purposes only, to ensure the safety of students and employees. This policy is available in the handbook which every HISD bus driver has received a copy of.”

The drivers insisted their buses weren’t moving when they prayed and the kids were never at risk. The president of the bus driver’s union wants the write-ups to be rescinded.

“At worse, they should have been given a verbal warning,” said union president Wretha Thomas.

Cormier agreed. “It hurts,” she said. “It really hurts.”

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