DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - DeKalb County school bus drivers are fighting to get their jobs back after the school district fired them last month following a three-day sickout.
"I didn't participate in the sick out, but if it means having another sickout to get these guys their jobs back, then let me say it now that I will be a part of that one," school bus operator John Crear said.
Crear was one of many DeKalb County school bus drivers in attendance's at the district's school board meeting Monday night.
"We do a lot of jobs and it appears we aren't considered when it comes to the budget and raises," Crear said.
More than a dozen parents, residents in the community and fellow school bus drivers wore red at the meeting and raised their concerns.
"These firings send a strong message to our students that if they speak their mind they will face swift and cruel punishment," one supporter said.
Hundreds of bus drivers called out sick at the end of April as part of a nationwide movement, but only seven were terminated.
Last Monday, the school district said one of the seven bus drivers fired was reinstated.
"I can't imagine working for someone for so long and being treated like this," Parent Heather Sabel-Sowers said.
The bus drivers said they participated in the sick out to push for higher salaries, better retirement packages, and safer working conditions.
School superintendent Dr. Stephen Green said the seven bus drivers originally fired were the 'ringleaders.' Green said they broke the district's policy and labor laws. Green said he cautions supporters wanting to execute another sickout.
"I don't think that would be wise," Green said.
When FOX 5 asked Superintendent Green whether the other six bus drivers will be rehired, he didn't shy away from the question.
"That will not be happening," Green said.