UPDATE—FRAZIER PARK (Friday, Jan. 21 at 2:42 p.m.)—At about 2 p.m. Friday, Jan. 21 Fernando Nieto, director of Maintenance, Operations and Transportation (MOT) at ETUSD stated categorically in an interview Friday, Jan. 21 that no threat of legal action has been made by any parent against the school district. He also stated, although he is unable to talk about any specific employment issue, that no bus driver has been relieved and that there is no change in employment status for any driver who works for the district on a regular, part time or substitute basis.
At 2:30 p.m., bus driver Jesus “Chuy” Saldana of Lebec reported in an interview with The Mountain Enterprise from his home in Lebec that after he had completed his route yesterday, Thursday, Jan. 21, MOT Nieto called his home and asked him to come down to the district office. He said he got there at 10:30 a.m. and was asked by Nieto: "Did you know about the accident?"
Saldana tells what happened: "I said, ‘I don’t know about any accident.’ He said, ‘You’re terminated. We don’t want a lawsuit against the school.’ I didn’t know what to say. I just said ‘thank you very much,’ and thought, ‘well, maybe it is time to really retire.’ I just want to clear my name. I’ve been driving 38 years, I’m a safe driver. I don’t know about this. It sounds like it is the parent’s fault. I worked for 24 years driving an MTA transit bus in Los Angeles, and have worked for 14 years for ETUSD. In all these time there has not been one ticket or problem."
By Sara Woerter
FRAZIER PARK (Friday, Jan. 21 at 12 p.m.)—Most everyone who has known a student attending the El Tejon Unified School District will know of friendly bus driver Jesus “Chuy” Saldana. It is being reported on Facebook that on January 20, Chuy was fired from the district.
An event was created on Facebook called “Boycott of the FMHS Bus System!!!” It was created by Chelsea Cooperoth of New Hampshire, who said in an interview Friday, Jan. 21 that she grew up in Frazier Park and that Chuy was her bus driver from middle school through high school. Coooperoth proposed that, starting on Monday, Jan. 24, students refuse to use the transportation provided by the school district from 7:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. Cooperoth proposed to continue the boycott until Chuy returns as a bus driver.
Over 90 individuals—ranging from FMHS graduates to present students to concerned parents—have said that they will be participating in this Facebook “event” in honor of Chuy. The event was broadcast to about 500 individuals via Facebook.
Reports from granddaughter Sarah Champin on Facebook report that “…What happened was, he [Chuy] was on time for the bus stop [Thursday, Jan. 20] and one kid was late, and the mom was chasing the bus and ran her son’s foot over, so they fired him because they can’t afford to be sued and it was for an accident that wasn’t even his fault.”
Frazier Mountain High School student Benjamin Grajeda posted on the Facebook page (using facebook jargon): “Wow chewy is my freaken UNCLE!!!!!!!!! jk but he is like an uncle to me =/ i will be there okay. ”
Chuy has worked for the El Tejon Unified School District for about 15 years.
Fernando Nieto, director of Maintenance, Operations and Transportation at ETUSD stated categorically in an interview Friday, Jan. 21 that no threat of legal action has been made by any parent against the school district. He also stated, although he is unable to talk about any specific employment issue, that no bus driver has been relieved and that there is no change in employment status for any driver who works for the district on a regular, part time or substitute basis.
This is part of the January 14, 2011 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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