It's day two of protest by more than half of the Jackson Public Schools bus drivers. The JPS drivers met at Battlefield Park early on Thursday morning during a time when they would typically be on their bus routes transporting children to school.
The drivers have signed up to start a union and have support from some in the community. Through a union JPS bus drivers believe they could receive higher pay and better treatment.
"We're just hungry, we're just tired of trying to move things around trying to pay one bill and then maybe push something back," said veteran JPS bus driver Pastor Lonnie Smith.
"I think it's a thankless job you know we go about our day and we don't think about the little things that happen, but actually these are people who interact with our children," said JPS parent, Edwin White.
Leaders in the community are offering their services to all the players involved to help come to a resolution.
Pastor Hosea Hines of Christ Tabernacle Church in Jackson said he spoke with Mayor Chokwe Lumumba. "Just a little while ago I offered my assistance in trying to help mediate the situation and he certainly welcomed that," said Pastor Hines.
The protestors are expected to gather at Lake Hico Park at one Thursday afternoon.
Officials with JPS say they are working aggressively to resolve issues with the bus drivers. In the meantime, parents need to make other arrangements to get their kids from school.
On Wednesday, only 10% of the drivers reported to work, leaving 243 of 263 buses parked.
Late Wednesday afternoon, JPS released the following statement:
The Jackson Public School District is very thankful for parents taking the necessary measures to bring students to school today due to the interruption in transportation services. All students who are absent or arrive late because of transportation issues will be excused. We are also grateful for the many bus drivers who did report to work this morning and afternoon. The District asks local employers to please be understanding to parents who may be delayed to work because of transporting their children to and from school. JPS has advised parents of the possibility of more delays in the coming days. Jackson Public Schools is working aggressively to resolve the issues with our bus drivers and hopes to identify a solution soon that will have a lesser impact on parents getting students to and from school daily.
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