Bus driver fights suspension for answering important call
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) -- A Broward school bus driver could be suspended after taking a personal call from her son who was calling her from Afghanistan.
Marine Michael Alfaro called from the desert of Afghanistan for the first time in seven months. His mom would not hesitate to pick up his cell phone. However, his mom, Rossana Lucas, is a Broward County school bus driver and was behind the wheel when she picked up his call. "He said, 'Mom, I am OK, I love you, Happy Birthday,'" said Lucas. "Because my birthday was December 10, and I said, 'Thank you, I love you and you take care' and that is it."
After seeing surveillance video on board the bus, the district sent her a letter for breaking the rules and suspended her for five days.
Lucas and her translator went before the school board on Monday to appeal the suspension. "This was the week before Christmas. She received an emergency call. She was not even two blocks away from the lot," said translator Jason Ramsey.
"If I don't answer in that time, he will have no chance to call me back again," said Lucas. "He has to wait three or four months again to call me back."
Lucas argued she could not get permission from a dispatcher to take the call from her son because the phone was already ringing, and she had no children on board the bus. "The situation for a mother, I want to know what happen with him, that he is OK," said Lucas.
The school board agreed to take another look at Lucas' case. She seems to even have dialed up the support of Superintendent Robert Runcie. "We have these rules, context does matter, and there is some definite circumstances here that I think weren't taking another look at this," said Runcie.
Lucas hopes the school board will consider the circumstances. "I answered with my heart. I knew it was my son," she said.
In seven years of driving, Lucas said this is the first problem she has ever had.
There will be another hearing on April 9.
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