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Broward School Bus Driver Fighting Suspension Over Phone Call From Marine Son

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(Source: CBS4)

(Source: CBS4)

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Carey Codd is a General Assignment Reporter for CBS4 News and jo...
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FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – A South Florida woman waited 7 months to hear from her son serving in the Marines in Iraq. But when she took that phone call her employer — the Broward County School District — said she broke the rules.

Rossana Lucas told Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie and the School Board Monday that while she made a mistake she shouldn’t be punished for it.

Their decision is still up in the air.

Lucas’ 21 year old son Michael is serving in the Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan. She showed CBS 4 a Marine Corps photo that shows him searching for land mines.

When her phone rang last December 10th, Lucas says she knew it was her son because of the restricted number that appeared on her screen.  She says she had just pulled her school bus out of the lot with no kids on board and pulled over on the side of the road. Then she took the call.

“I was crying,” she told CBS 4’s Carey Codd. “I was so happy.”

Lucas says she was so happy because it had been 7 long months since she heard from her boy and even though the call was brief it meant he was safe.

“They only give you one minute or two minutes to say, ‘Mom, I’m fine and I love you’ and that’s it,” she said.

But a few weeks later Lucas says she received a letter informing her that a camera on the bus captured her talking on the phone — which is a no-no. Her bosses recommended she be suspended for 5 days, which could cost her valuable money. Lucas says she tried to explain the circumstances of the phone call.

“I explained to them what happened — the situation — but I guess they don’t care,” she said.

Lucas admits she did violate the rules but hoped that her bosses would understand.

“I don’t have no choice but to answer that phone call,” she said.

The school district decided to study Rossana’s case more closely before making a decision. It’s possible they could decide at their next meeting on April 9.

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