Houston ISD bus drivers say they are treated unfairly, not allowed restroom access

Parents have had plenty of complaints about school buses over the years but bus drivers have some concerns of their own. Several Houston Independent School District bus drivers have complained to their union, saying that they are being treated unfairly and are not being allowed inside campus buildings to simply use the restroom.
“Everybody was there, everybody," says one HISD bus driver who doesn't want to be identified because on Wednesday she says she was humiliated. "Students, teachers. Everybody was looking at me.”  The 11-year HISD veteran says she asked in a middle school office to use the restroom, showed her work badge, was wearing her uniform and handed over her driver's license but still didn't get clearance. She says she couldn't hold her bladder anymore.  

“I said, 'Ma'am, I really need to go to the restroom and I left my license and I'm going inside because I was wet.” She also says the woman in the office began yelling at her as she headed to the restroom anyway.  Then she was stopped by two men.  

“I showed him my pants wet and he said, 'OK, I’ll take you.'” 

”You just don't do people like that,” says Wretha Thomas, president of Houston Educational Support Personnel. According to Thomas, this isn't an isolated incident.  

“They treat them like second-class citizens and that's one of the reasons why they have problems keeping good bus drivers,” adds Thomas. 

Another driver says she wet on the bus in front of students after a teacher refused to watch the children while she went to relieve herself.  

“I was very embarrassed.”

Thomas says that normally teachers at the curb will keep an eye out or call someone else so drivers can take a bathroom break.

”We're supposed to be a family," says Wylita Johnson, who has been driving for HISD for 23 years. "To me that's humiliating. You're wetting your clothes because the school says you can't come in.”   

“I had to go buy more clothes and underwear because I was very, very wet," says the bus driver who says she wasn’t given permission to go to the restroom in the middle school.
Houston ISD says the district is looking into the matter.