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Hazlehurst school officials fire striking bus drivers

Some protesters showed up Thursday at the offices of the Hazlehurst School District officials to complain about the firing of 17 school bus drivers.

About 30 people, including some children, stood on four street corners near the administration building and held signs saying “Pay the bus drivers.”

The drivers went on strike Tuesday, saying that the district owed them two-weeks’ pay. They are not unionized.

The drivers said they had expected to be paid March 2 but weren’t. Interim Superintendent Jay Norals would not comment Wednesday on why the drivers weren’t paid.

On Wednesday, Norals sent those on strike a letter firing them, because they “jeopardized the safety of our students, interfered with the operations of the school district and violated the district’s policy.”

About 100 Hazlehurst residents who support the bus drivers met Wednesday and have begun circulating a petition for the removal of four of the district’s five school board members.

Board member Martin Washington, who was not a target of complaints by school patrons, said Wednesday that the situation was unfortunate and said he hopes it’s resolved in a professional manner.