Cafeteria workers say they’re being forced to drive buses in Cumberland Co.
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Some school cafeteria workers in Cumberland County said they’re being forced to drive school buses next year or lose their jobs.
WTVD reported that a school cafeteria worker said she is scared to drive the kids and feels it would be unsafe.
“I want parents to know what they are doing to us,” she said. “People that are not qualified to drive a bus with these kids, it’s dangerous.”
The worker spoke anonymously, saying she is afraid she would be fired if her name was released.
Each day more than 26,000 students ride Cumberland County school buses.
School employees said that school officials are telling cafeteria workers to get a commercial driver’s license or forego their jobs.
School officials said the CDL requirement has been a state policy since 1988.
“It’s a condition of their employment to obtain a CDL, which enables them to drive a bus if needed,” said Tim Kinlaw, of Cumberland County Schools.
Kinlaw said the school system needs around 1,200 qualified drivers, but some school workers are having a tough time passing the CDL exam.
Officials said Cumberland and other school systems across the state are replacing their fleets with newer busses which are bigger, heavier, and carry more students.
The cafeteria worker who spoke to ABC11 said she tried for two years to get the school system to enroll her in a training class.
“I don’t think it’s fair if I signed up and no one has called. And they stay backed up, so it’s not fair that I would be out of a job if I have not been called for it,” she said.
School officials said the cafeteria works have until August to get a commercial license and take bus driver training.
Those workers say it will take a lot longer than that before they feel comfortable behind the wheel of a school bus.
“I think the driving will be more scarier, you are out there with all these kids and all,” one worker said.