Courtesy of Associate Press

LAFAYETTE — Lafayette Parish schools may make it easier to become a substitute school bus driver.

Transportation Director Bill Samec has asked the parish school board to suspend its requirement that a driver have a high school diploma or equivalency diploma, The Advocate reports.

Samec said that when the district sought part-time drivers in March, it didn’t find enough to meet its goal of 30 for the next
school year.

Part-time, substitute drivers are often promoted to full-time drivers in Lafayette.

Linda Matthew, former president of the Louisiana School Bus Operators Association, said the problem is low pay. Substitute drivers make between $56 and $86 a day.

“There is definitely a shortage throughout the state,” Matthew said. “It’s not a question of education…. It’s the pay.”

Matthew also said training on topics such as bullying prevention and ethics requires drivers to take time away from their second

The number of available substitutes typically fluctuates with the economy, particularly the status of the oil and gas
industry, Samec said.

“When oil is between $90 and $100 a barrel, we can’t find drivers. If oil is $40 a barrel, we’ve got people knocking on the door,”
Samec said.

The substitute shortage is “critical” in the Iberia Parish school system, where there are only 13 substitutes for 129 drivers, said
Raymond Noel, Iberia Parish Schools transportation director.

“We spend a lot of time shuffling routes because of the shortage of substitutes,” he said. “It’s an ongoing issue. A couple of years
ago, we were down to three or four substitutes.”

In Lafayette, Samec said he fears the district will start the school year without enough people to cover for absent drivers.

“We have about a 10 percent daily absentee rate for  bus drivers,” he said. “That’s basically 30 people out about every day. Even
with 30 substitutes, I’ve got staff members driving buses.”

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Courtesy of:  Helen Freund, | The Times-PicayuneThe Times-Picayune

A 16-year-old girl was raped in the back of a school bus on Monday, New Orleans police said. According to a
preliminary police report released on Thursday morning, the girl, a student, told police officers she was sexually assaulted by a male student on the bus about 1:21 p.m. in the
4300 block of Almonaster Avenue.

According to the report, the girl told police that she was on the bus with one other male student and that they were the only remaining passengers, but that a bus driver was present and driving the bus.

The girl told police that the male student approached her and sexually assaulted her, before exiting the bus when it arrived at his stop. The girl did not tell the bus driver about the assault, police said, and exited the bus when it came to her stop.

On Wednesday, the girl reported the rape to the guidance counselor at her school and police said that they know who the suspect is and are actively investigating the case. 

It was not immediately clear where the two students involved attended school but the address listed in the police report matches that of Crescent Leadership Academy. A call to the school for comment was not immediately returned.

Police said no arrests have been made yet and no further information is available.

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