BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - Tuesday marked the third day of Berkeley County parents scrambling to get their kids to and from school with about 30 BCSD bus drivers absent from work.
However, it’s not clear if the bus drivers being off the job was their choice or the result of a disciplinary action taken by the district.
Last week, a group of BCSD drivers that went on strike calling for better safety measures, one driver telling us that they were suspended for three days. But the district refused to confirm if the drivers had been suspended, keeping both the public and parents in the dark.
A district representative said that it does not comment “on matters of personnel” and informed Live 5 News that we would have to follow the Freedom of Information Act request process.
South Carolina FOIA law allows the school district ten business days to acknowledge the request and then another 30 business days to release the information,
Meaning it could be next year before the district may finally confirm or deny the suspension.
“Well, that’s just total nonsense, because there is no blanket personnel matter exemption in the open records law,” Jay Bender said.
Bender is an expert in media law with experience in Freedom of Information litigation dating back to 1975.
“What that is, is an effort by the school district to delay a response,” he said. “If the school district [was] really interested in having its constituents and taxpayers know what was happening, that question would be answered without you’re having to submit any requests for anything except ‘please answer this question.’”
In August, the district reported a shortage of about 40 bus drivers. It’s unclear at this time how many current vacancies there are in addition to the drivers on strike.
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