Reader writes: Schools have obligation to treat employees fairly

January 24, 2014 

Bittersweet closure to unfair treatment

It is sad to know the Johnston County school system, which boasts of teaching values, understanding, compassion and respect, failed to meet to the standards of acceptance they expect their employees to abide by.

Many of the school system’s classified employees are required to be able to drive a school bus as part of their job description. And yes, they knowingly know that, and it should be no surprise to them. But I believe employees who take on this responsibility never desire an illness just to avoid driving a school bus. If this should happen, the last thing on their mind would be to lose their job as a teacher assistant, cafeteria worker or custodian because of an unforeseeable illness.

I am grateful to the lawyer who that handled the case of former teacher assistant Patricia Bordonaro and addressed the Johnston County school system’s policy in this matter. Hopefully it set precedent for similar claims that can possibly follow. Hopefully, others classified employees can now come forward without fear of swift dismissal.

I hope those who followed Ms. Bordonaro’s case now have hope and take some comfort that the Johnston County schools will be closely scrutinized and watched carefully on this policy. Thank you again to the attorney who helped Ms. Bordonaro see the light at the end of this emotional journey.

This is a bittersweet end to a chapter I will never forget in my own experience, but I can move on knowing the Johnston County schools are not untouchable. The schools have an obligation to respect employees who face an unexpected illness. The school board now has a obligation to handle cases similar to this in a professional manner. mindful of those with disabilities in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Finally, I applaud our hardworking school bus drivers. You deserve a standing ovation for what you do, encounter and have to deal with every day. Thank you.

FYI: Yes, if you apply for a classified position in the Johnston County schools, you are required to drive a school bus. But are Johnston County residents aware employees are required to pay for their commercial driver’s license, which can range from $100-$250?

Christy Tierney

Houston, Texas

Note: The writer is a former teacher assistant and bus driver in the Johnston County Schools.

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