School Bus Driver Says He Was Terminated For A Mom’s Mistake

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By The Mountain Enterprise staff

A well-known school bus driver who has worked for El Tejon Unified School District (ETUSD) more than 10 years says he was fired by the district after a parent claimed the driver caused her to run over her son’s foot at a bus stop in Frazier Park on Thursday, Jan. 20. The driver says he was told when he was ‘terminated’ that the district could not afford legal action.

Jesus “Chuy” Saldana told The Mountain Enterprise he was unaware of any problem at the bus stop, but others have posted descriptions of what allegedly happened on a Facebook page. The description that emerges is that a parent was late dropping her son at the bus stop and claimed Saldana was leaving the stop early, somehow causing her to drive over her son’s foot after the youth exited her vehicle to run for the bus. Saldana says he did not leave early and did not know anything had occurred.

In an interview with The Mountain Enterprise, Fernando Nieto, ETUSD maintenance, operations and transportation supervisor, insisted that no threat of legal action had been received from any parent that week. Nieto also denied that Saldana was terminated, because, “He is not a regular employee. He is a substitute. I cannot ‘terminate’ him.”

According to Saldana, he was told by Nieto on Thursday, Jan. 20 that he had been “terminated.” Saldana said he is proud of his safe 37-year record driving buses and he wants to clear his name.

Saldana showed a handwritten schedule to a Mountain Enterprise reporter, saying he had been given weekly or biweekly schedules regularly by supervisor Patrice Barnes and has worked every weekday for the past two years. Barnes has not returned calls to verify the validity of the written schedule.

Facebook participants called for a bus boycott, then changed to a sit-in. Over 150 people are participating in the Facebook “event,” indicating their affection for Chuy Saldana and his service to the district’s children.

For more details, see www. .

This is part of the January 28, 2011 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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