FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM)- Denise Claiborne, a bus driver, said she was wrongly fired after allegations that she ordered more than 30 students off her bus after it broke down while en route to school.
Claiborne had been transporting children to school for six years as bus driver. She had worked for Durham Transport Services for 10 months before she was fired in April. Now she’s speaking out to clear her name.
On April 20, Claiborne was taking children to David Walker Intermediate School in the Crowley ISD when the bus broke down. The bus was just blocks away from where many of the children live.
“I said, ‘Call your parents to see if they are at home so they can come pick you all up so you won’t be late for school,” said Claiborne.
But students and parents told CBS 11 a different story.
At the time, Chonda Johnson and her son Achiles said Claiborne had ordered more than 30 kids off the bus.
“When I came around the corner, kids were just everywhere, just on the streets doing whatever they wanted to do,” said Johnson.
But Claiborne disputes that saying, ”Why would I want to tell a whole bunch of kids that’s on my bus, ‘Just get off the bus!’”
Claiborne said several parents and family members showed up, some of whom volunteered to drive other students to school.
She later transported the remaining students to school after a mechanic arrived to fix the bus.
While all the kids were accounted for, Durham Transport Services determined she violated policy by allowing students off the bus and she was fired.
“I thought it was unjustified because I didn’t think I did anything wrong,” she said.
Now unemployed, Claiborne said she never intended to put the children in harm’s way and wants to clear her name.
“I’m not this heartless person that they are making me out to be,” she said. “I miss the kids. Yes, I do.”