HISD: Nearly 8% of bus drivers did not report to work on Good Friday

Bus drivers to hold rally Friday to continue protest of HISD's decision to have school

By Keith Garvin - Anchor/Reporter , Amanda Perez , Jill Courtney

HOUSTON - Houston Independent School District says nearly 8 percent of its school bus drivers did not report to work on Good Friday.

Because of two days canceled earlier in the semester for winter weather, district officials scheduled Good Friday as one of the makeup days.

The problem drivers and other employees have with that is it's a day they look forward to honor their faith. 

"HISD has over 80 percent of their employees that are Christians, and they have this day set aside for a make-up day," said Wretha Thomas, president of Houston Education Support Personnel, which represents some of the district's blue collar workers. 

An HISD spokesperson said 77 of about 1,000 drivers did not report to work on Friday. The spokesperson said the district was able to use substitute drivers and other staff certified to drive school buses to transport students. No major delays were reported.

Some drivers said they don't mind working on Good Friday because they are able to make up for a lost day of pay.  

Bus driver Dru Erskine said the absences created a challenge and some delays, but the morning went by very smoothly.

"The coordination, the communication with the parents, it was fantastic. I work with the northwest motor pool, we did a good job making sure all the kids got to school," said Erskine. 

Some parents also chose to keep their children from attending school Friday.

The district said parents who wish to have their child's absence exempted should send a note within three days, documenting their religious observance.

Those absences will not count toward perfect attendance.

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