Dennis Kaliszewski is the kind of school bus driver I had back in the day, and I can only wish that my own kids have drivers like him: level-headed and absolutely committed to keeping his students safe. Kaliszewski made a good call on his bus (not shown) on November 14th: he learned that an elementary-school student had brought a knife on the bus, and he calmly took care of the problem.
The Parma City School District immediately fired him for it.
Here’s the dope from the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
According to Kaliszewski, he was driving to his first stop when “it seemed as though the entire bus of students started to yell that a young boy had a knife in his possession.” He said he then pulled over and ordered the boy, estimated to be 8-10-years-old, three times to hand over the knife, indicating the bus wouldn’t move and the police would be called if this didn’t happen. The boy eventually came to the front of the bus and gave a small pocketknife to Kaliszewski, who said he then proceeded on the route.
Kaliszewski said he doesn’t believe the boy was threatening other students with the knife, but was simply showing it off.
“I feel I defused the situation and eliminated any danger,” he said.
The mouth-breathers at the school district HQ fired Kaliszewski the next day, because he failed to freak out and escalate the situation according to ‘protocol.’ The pusillanimous pinheads wanted him to pull the bus over (and lie to the students about why) call the police to have the child arrested, and make everyone late for class.
Instead of calling in the National Guard and turning a small pocketknife into an international incident, he defused the situation and kept everyone safe and even got them to school on time.
But they fired him for it, which is a pity for everyone. A level-headed problem solver like Kaliszewski is exactly the kind of driver we want at the wheel when things go a little weird on a school bus. I hope he sues the pants off the bastards (he’s considering it) and gets his job back.