By Ted Schnell
A school bus driver in Illinois said she was treated for hypothermia at a hospital emergency room after her employer ignored her repeated pleas that her bus be replaced with one with a working heater during subzero conditions.
Elisha Jones, a driver for Illinois Central School Bus, said that when she first got on her bus about 7 a.m. Jan. 23, she complained that it was cold, but her supervisors insisted the bus would warm up before she picked up the first children on her route.
A check of the archives on FriendlyForecast.com shows the temperature in Wheaton, Illinois, from 7 to 8 a.m. that day was -3 degrees, with winds of 19.6 mph and gusts to 27.6 mph. The National Weather Service’s wind chill calculator put the wind chill values for that morning from -26 to as low as -29 degrees.
Much of the country has been grappling with extreme cold temperatures.
Jones said she was alarmed her employer would show such great disregard for Monroe Middle School students on her route and for her own safety.
“We are aware that there was a bus issue last week involving one of the routes for Monroe,” Wheaton Community Unit School District 200 Public Relations Director Erica Loiacono wrote in response to an inquiry from Wheaton Patch. “The Principal was onsite and handled the situation appropriately. We are following up with Illinois Central accordingly.”