A substitute bus driver is out of a job today after he confiscated a knife from a student on the bus he was driving.
The 60-year-old driver, Dennis Kaliszewski, looked in the rear-view mirror as sounds of panicked children filled the bus. According to him, the children’s voices grew louder and louder as concern over a particular student built up.
It turns out that the kids were screaming because a child, somewhere between the ages of 8 and 10, had brought a knife onto the school bus. Kaliszewski immediately pulled the bus over and ordered the child to bring the knife to him. He says it took three tries until the child became compliant, but did end up handing over the knife.
The driver started the bus back up and finished his route after telling his supervisor that there was a matter that he needed to discuss. Upon arriving back to the bus garage however, it turned out that the supervisor had gone home for the evening, and after seeing this, Kaliszewski followed suit.
The next morning he was called in to a meeting with two supervisors and a representative of the district’s safety and security department. He was promptly fired.
Now, according to the school’s policy, they are prohibited to discuss personnel issues, but Kaliszewski doesn’t seem to mind.
He said he was fired for not following district protocol. As Kaliszewski notes, he was not properly trained on what to say or do in this exact instance and finds the termination unfair.
He views that he did the best he could with the information provided, and was successful in retrieving the weapon without student injury.
He does however mention that protocol states, “In the case of a student with a weapon, he’s supposed to stop the bus, tell riders there are mechanical problems and then contact police.”
One can only assume that because the police weren’t called is why he was fired.
But Kaliszewski argues that, “To me, as an adult, I think I’d look like an idiot if I called police and it turned out to be a rubber knife,” and, “For using common sense, I lose my job.”
He also believes that being fired may have been in retaliation for telling parents the truth. When asked why the bus was late, he told parents that he had to confiscate a knife, figuring that if he didn’t, their children would. He thinks that because parents called in about it, this might have intensified the situation.
Kaliszewski is seeking legal counsel and hopes to regain his employment that he was “unjustly relieved,” from.