Richmond County bus driver suspended without pay

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News 12 at 6 o'clock, February 15, 2008

AUGUSTA, Ga. --- A Richmond County bus driver is suspended without pay, but she says it's not all her fault. She says the kids are continuously causing a problem on the bus.

Now, she is speaking out to News 12 about what happened this week on her bus.

Pink slips that Shirley Oliver has are write-ups letting Gracewood Elementary School know she is having problems with kids on her bus.

"I even told the parents I need help," says Shirley.

But now, some parents are turning against the bus driver. On Wednesday, driver Shirley Oliver says she pulled out of a road on her route, around a car. And the kids in the back of the bus were making a lot of noise.

"And I said, those of you in the back move forward. That was the only one's in the back of the bus. I'd say 3 or 4 of them screamed real loud so I applied my brakes," says Shirley.

The loud screaming would be against the code of conduct for the students while on the bus. Shirley admits the bus was moving when she told the kids to move. But now, a parent saying their kid was sent to the ER, diagnosed with a concussion, bruised kidney and hip.

"How can I speed up from there to right here to send kids to the emergency room," says Shirley.

She told the transportation supervisor what happened and drove her normal bus route on Thursday.

This is what happened on Friday Morning. She came to the Richmond County bus garage to get her bus for the day. That's when she noticed something was wrong. When she got on the bus, the keys were not in the ignition. So, she went to the office to find out just what is going on.

"Mr. Shinn told me I was getting suspended without pay," says Shirley.

Mr. Shinn, the director, would not comment since the investigation is ongoing. But he did tell News 12, the district is following procedure.

"When I explained to them what happened and if they thought I was in the wrong, they should have told me something then. I should have been suspended then," says Shirley.

News 12 got a copy of the drivers manual. Shirley says she does not remember ever being written up or verbally warned by Mr. Shin.. But she's talked to him so technically, this could be considered her second violation. Which, if administrators felt she endangered others, she could be suspended. One parent did tell News 12, she never had a problem for 2 years with Shirley.

We don't know when the investigation will be complete.

News 12 did try to contact the Gracewood Elementary Principal for comment, but she was unable to be reached.

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