Protesting Jackson school bus drivers say they thought progress would be made during discussions with Superintendent Dr. Cedrick Gray Tuesday morning.
"He came in and said, you want to be heard and I hear you. But my concern is these children. I'm gonna ask you my last time, let's get those buses back on the road. There was no monologue, dialogue, with him and the drivers," says Ernest Slaughter, a 20-year veteran bus driver.
Slaughter also says Dr. Gray is unhappy that drivers have been wearing their uniforms during their demonstrations.
"But to be honest with you, we wore our uniform to let him know that we came ready for work," he says.
It doesn't appear that Dr. Gray is ready to meet their demands, however. Sources tell 3 On Your Side that district officials are beginning to meet with private bus companies that service surrounding school districts. JPS wouldn't confirm it, and the picketing bus drivers didn't seem aware of it Tuesday morning.
Meanwhile, the bus drivers continue to say their pay is too low, and they don't get enough support with discipline issues. Driver Larry Walton says he found a firearm in a backpack left on his bus a few years ago.
"I looked in it, there's a gun on the bus. In the backpack. And I turned it in," he tells us. "A lot of times you turn paperwork into these principals and everything, and it gets swept under the rug."
District officials won't say anything except they hope the bus driver protest issue is resolved soon.
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