Trustees say they can't ask bus company to re-hire driver

Calgary bus driver Kendra Lindon was fired for driving kids to school in her own vehicle after her...

Calgary bus driver Kendra Lindon was fired for driving kids to school in her own vehicle after her bus broke down in frigid temperatures in Calgary on March 3, 2014. (Darren Makowichuk/QMI Agency)

Michael Platt, Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:29 AM ET

CALGARY -- They’ll happily give your money to the bus company, but hit the brakes at offering your two cents.

That’s the verdict from the Calgary Board of Education’s Board of Trustees, faced with a growing outcry over the controversial firing of a veteran school bus driver.

Kendra Lindon lost her job with First Student Canada for trying to protect kids from frostbite — but despite paying the bus company wads of cash to transport students, the school board is cool to speaking out on behalf of parents.

“What would I say to the parents? That we all support and appreciate their concerns, and have a recognition that student safety is of the utmost importance,” said Sheila Taylor, chair of the Board of Trustees.

“We hear and appreciate the concerns that are being expressed by the community.”

They hear, but they won’t be passing the message on.

Despite collecting $295 a year from the same parents to pay First Student, Taylor says the board can’t ask the Ohio-based company to reconsider firing the beloved driver.

“They’re a partner organization, not our organization,” said Taylor, a trustee normally known for tackling controversial issues.

“We can’t really comment on a personnel matter in their organization.”

That’s the latest frustrating turn in a story of injustice that’s left parents across Calgary demanding the knee-jerk firing of Lindon be overturned.

Lindon’s sin was making a decision to pick up students in her own personal SUV, after the bus supplied by First Student wouldn’t start in the bitter cold.

Having driven the same route and students for years, the veteran driver knew her Code Yellow call to dispatch could still leave the junior high school kids waiting in a -37C windchill for 20 minutes or more — and so she acted.

“They would have been out in that cold for 20 minutes, so that’s the decision I made,” Lindon told the Sun earlier this week.

In total, she drove a couple of blocks in her SUV, picking up five students she’d known since kindergarten, so they could wait in the warm vehicle for a replacement bus to arrive.

A lack of seats meant a couple of kids ended up in the very back of the SUV — meaning no seatbelts — but because she was on peaceful residential roads in Hawkwood, Lindon figured it was better than having the kids risk frostbite.

First Student disagreed.


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