Bus driver claims she was forced to resign a few years before retirement

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A 72-year-old bus driver is outraged after being forced to resign a few years before retirement.

Rennie Haeseley has driven a bus for Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation for almost 17 years. She claims she was forced to resign for reasons she doesn’t believe are justified.

Last Thursday, she had a meeting with a school official and two members of the school bus association. She received a letter titled disciplinary action and stated: “Insubordination: Disobeying or refusing an action of authority”.

Haeseley was given three reasons for the disciplinary action. The letter stated:

“You have violated this on 1/21/13 when you were told there was a 2-hr delay the following morning. You were asked at that time to start your bus (#248) and let it run to insure it would start due to the cold temperatures. You were also instructed to start your bus in plenty of time the morning of 1/22/13. At 5:15 a.m. 1/22/13 you phoned the T&M building and spoke with an employee saying you could not get your bus started, stating ‘the bus started yesterday, but would not start this morning’. GPS found this information false. In fact you neglected to start your bus at all on 1/21/13.”

Haeseley said she was not home when she was called on Jan. 21. She said her husband was home. He took the call. She thought he said he started the bus, when in fact, he said the bus did not start. She returned home at 11:30 p.m.

She said no one from the school system tried to call her cell phone. She tried to start the bus, but it did not. Haeseley did not want to call someone that late. She tried the next morning and it didn’t started. She called the department for help. After that, Haeseley said she was able to pick up her students and took them to school on time.

The letter continued to say, “GPS proves you have disregarded following BCSC Transportation guidelines (page #9) ‘Every driver is to do a pre-trip inspection before every trip.’ This occurs on several occasions.”

Haeseley said she does pre-trip inspections like checking the brakes, signals and doors. She said she conducts thorough inspections twice a week. Haeseley said she does not believe people conduct thorough inspections on everything, every day.

Lastly the letter said, “Your continued inability to maintain your bus without assistance from mechanics or fellow colleagues (is) unacceptable. We are concerned about your physical ability to maintain your bus.”

Haeseley said she could not lift the grill in order to put anti-freeze. She said it wasn’t heavy, but awkward. She said she would get help from her co-workers and she argued it got done.

Haeseley said she was forced to resign, just five years from retirement. She said she did not receive any warnings.

“These (reasons) are not warranted for firing somebody,” Haeseley said.

She did not want to quit. She wants an apology.

“I need an apology. I think that’s (the) first thing I need is an apology because it’s so humiliating,” Haeseley said.

She does not want it to happen to someone else. She believes she is a good bus driver and a capable bus driver.

“If this is because of a personality conflict, which I’ve never had anything on on with them at all. So, I don’t know, but if that’s what it it, it’s wrong number one.

“It’s totally wrong and she should have called me in and talked to me about it and told me that, if I didn’t start doing this, this is what was going to happen,” Haeseley said.

Fox59 tried to speak with school officials to ask them about this incident. The superintendent’s administrative assistant told us in person: “no comment.”

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