BOE Attorney Responds To Angered Bus Drivers – Offers Pumpkin Pie To All

The following is a statement from the BOE Attorney Michael Inzelbuch directed at the angry bus drivers, regarding Thanksgiving busing. Although an email sent by TLS to the Attorney last week was not responded to, the following is an email sent to all the bus providers this morning, and submitted to TLS 

Please be formally reminded that pursuant to contract, new jersey administrative code , and information provided by the new jersey department of education as recently as yesterday bussing must be provided on november 24,2011 ( thanksgiving) unless same is not required by the school(s) you serve .

Please be respectively reminded that the approximate 19,000 non -public school children we serve enjoy the benefit of transportation on november 24,2011 (where applicable and otherwise eligible) as codified in the new jersey administrative code regardless of the position(s) of the administration , board , concerned citizens , non -public parents (of which reportedly many have contacted thransportation department stating that they would be in favor of curtailing of bussing on november 24 in deference to the drivers they respect), and/or the undersigned.

While the board and administration truly appreciate and respect the multi-faceted issues, emotions, and sensitivities involved herein this position is based on a thorough legal review of the situation .

On a personal level i often have enjoyed the beauty of thanksgiving in lakewood especially the piners -toms river south football game since i attended lakewood high school (class of 1983) and truly understand the character of the day .

To that end , i am offering from the undersigned and my family as a token of our appreciation a pumpkin pie or like pastry/dessert ( at my personal expense) to all drivers (and their families) who help us fulfill our legal requirements. While this gesture will not “cure” the issue(s), it is a gesture that i feel is important in our town –lakewood– where i had the privilege to be raised and benefited from the diversity of opinions , cultures, and people. Please advise by no later than this thursday as to the quantity required so approrpiate prparations can be made.

Lastly , if your company does not intend or allegedly can not provide required bussing on november 24 please advise by no later than this thursday , november 17th in writing directed to the undersigned ( via fax –732-886-0806) as the board will need to consider any and all action to enforce the aforementioned legal obligations.

Looking forward to working together, i remain

Michael I Inzelbuch

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78 COMMENTS

  1. Come on.
    Your heading is not exactly being fair to the Attorney. The point of his letter seems to be saying that by law he is reuired to enforce Bussing and Thanksgiving and there’s nothing really that he can do about it.
    at the same time he stresses the point that he realizes that the the Bus Drivers are being asked to sacrifice and as such while he can’t mitigate the problem he does want to show his appreciation to the the Drivers with a thoughtful gesture (that will probably cost him a pretty penny of they take him up on it).
    All in all I thought that on his part it was a respectful that while being firm on the issue showed his understanding of the sacrifice being saked of them and attempts to convey his appreciation of their work.
    Let the Headline reflect that instead of inflaming the issue.
    TLS should’nt become the APP.

  2. What is totally sad is that the schools should be closed to observe this national AMERICAN holiday. Your private schools are sending a message to AMERICA, the country that accepts and protects your FREEDOM of RELIGION, that you don’t care about the traditions that helped make this the GREATEST country on this planet. SAD, SAD, SAD!!! More like giving the drivers a pie in the face.

  3. I laugh when people offer something in good faith and others take it as a joke. The attorney regardless how you feel about the situation has offered something out of his own pocket and people still feel it’s not a genuine offer. At this point, drive the kids and move on

  4. What’s all big deal about BOE decision on bussing. Look around many many non-jewish businesses are opened and require their employees (who employed at their free will) to report to work on all of the American and non-jewish religious holidays. All of the department stores, supermarkets, etc. are opened. Go protest them. I work for a one of the most famous global companies. I use my vacation days for Jewish holidays and was up-front with them on when I can and cannot work.

  5. I totally agree with #9 and the folks who also mentioned MEMORIAL DAY in other articles concerning this issue! We AMERICANS are giving our country away bit by bit. Sooner than later…there will be NO AMERICA! Then we will see if the Chinese govt’ or whoever takes over, will “comply” to all demands.

  6. Most of us are off on Thanksgiving. I for one do not find driving my kids to school a chore. Let them enjoy the day off. If we would not have allowed unrestricted building in this town the traffic would be bearable & parents would not kvetch as much. Instead we have hundreds of cars trying to access the same roads all at once. Let`s use our yiddishe kep to dig ourselves out if this quagmire instead of taking away a much needed off day.

  7. Of course standing behind the letter of the law is a convenient way to handle this. Unfortunately, human emotions and the letter of the law are sometimes like water and oil, as, in my opinion, it is in this case.

    Thanksgiving to non-Jews is one of their huge holidays as they approach their holiday time. Being school employees, they emotionally expect to be off for their family time on Thanksgiving.

    The law stating what they must do will not sit well.

    I also suggest the offer of the pies will not result in them being on their table, if they take them at all.

    Bottom line, I think they bus drivers are going to feel very resentful even after Thanksgiving.

    Considering we have so days which are important to us to abstain from going to work, I think it would have been a big kiddish Hashem to have rachmonus on the bus drivers. I know that holiday means a lot to them.

  8. I imagine the issue is more logisticle rather than a statement against our beautiful country. The jews have so many other holidays that span eight days or more. Add in the snow days and there is no room to give off thanksgiving and memorial day etc.

  9. to #9 it will cost him a pretty penny for all the pie
    he doesn’t have to offer but why do you feel bad for him he has like 3 different jobs that bring him in plenty of money
    attorney for the BOE
    private practice
    title 1 condinator
    i have no problem driving my kids to school and giving the drivers off i work and my husband does but we figure it out each year.

  10. Excuses ,excuses ,excuses Stop already with the rhetoric , you (BOE) are dividing this town !!! pure nonsense this is the ONLY TOWN that has bus drivers working on Thanksgiving !!!

  11. Can someone please explain why there has to be no school in order to celebrate and appreciate Thanks Giving Day? Is something constructive to be done that necessitates giving off that day? On another note, it is grossly unfair to assume that we in the Jewish community do not appreciate the freedom we have in this country. Having thousands of school children take off school does equal appreciation for American fredom

  12. OK I have to make another point here, just as has happened all across this country when the rights of workers are trampled on its time for them (the bus drivers) to stand up in unison and make it be known they will not stand for this un American action by the Lakewood BOE . there are times that extreme measures must be taken when those in charge don’t seem to grasp the severity of their actions . Why is any school open on Thanksgiving ??? This town will by its actions keep dividing , antagonzing the various segments of the citizens of Lakewood by making such poor decissions .
    I sday to you the Lakewood BOE ~ SHAME ON YOU for creating an atmoshere of constant percieved bias to the non jews of this town and those who work here

  13. THIS IS AMERICA = and we have OUR holidays. those who wish to not observe OUR holidays can do so on their own free will. Keeping that in mind, that must mean that you are to arrange your own transportation, cooking, and any other service convenience you rely upon on any normal day.
    People expect America to conform and accept your holidays and customs, then those same people need to conform to age old American traditions and customs & holidays.

    -ON AN OPPOSITE FOOT im sick and tired of people complaining about having to do a little extra work. shut up, and do your job. Not every job will have every holiday off, and a perfect 9-5. Sometimes you will have fill in, over extend yourself- and miss a nice warm day or special day here & there. You have a job, be happy.

  14. You make no sense. There are MILLIONS of people working in our great country on thanksgiving day. NO ONE ever accused their employers of being un-American. NO ONE (besides you) has attempted to breed such a pathetic climate of hateful resentment when told to perform (and get paid for) limited morning & afternoon runs for the safety of children seeking an education.

    Did you try applying to Greyhound bus lines yet? I heard they have some openings.. You might be surprised to learn that not every business in the country shuts down for thanksgiving.. My sister-in-law is a nurse in a hospital and she’s not getting off either.

    Either find a different job or try negotiating for extra pay (or pie) from your employer.. but quit whining already!!

  15. The issue is not the BOE it is the Yeshivas. The Yeshivos should be sensitive the the Holiday and decline busing for the day. It is a total lack of Derech Eretz… something I would expect our Yeshivos to teach our children… but then again…

  16. Are you kidding me a pumpkin pie. Oh yeah let me take your pumpkin pie and give it to my family to enjoy in my absence while I choke down a hamburger or peanutbutter and jelly sandwich. The town pretty much shuts down on all jewish holidays but can’t shut down on a holiday that marked a special occassion in the past.

  17. Finally a response from a responsible member of the Lakewood School District. BOE Attorney Michael Inzelbuch clarified the law, offered a personal gift as a peace offering to the bus drivers, and warned of possible consequences if bus drivers and/or bus companies do not comply. This is the first responsible act in this irresponsible process of requiring transportation services on a National Holiday.

    National Holidays were enacted by Congress for the benefit of the American people. Thanksgiving is a traditional time for family gatherings to thank G-D for the blessings that HE has bestowed on this great Nation and on all of it’s people.

  18. Quote “Can someone please explain why there has to be no school in order to celebrate and appreciate Thanks Giving Day?”
    are you serious ? then we should apply the same logic for jewish hoidays also it seems to me you don’t understand some basic concepts of what a Holiday is , by the way just so you dont misunderstand my viewpoint I do not think any business should be open on Thanksgiving

  19. hey disgruntled busdrivers : you should have checked your employer list of holidays before agreeing to work for them. this is between your empoyer and you. No one else.

  20. Everyone, make your bus driver feel better if they come to your door on Thanksgiving by offering a small token of your appreciation (because we all appreciate our wonderful bus drivers!)

    Even a thank you note will say a lot to show you care and appreciate what they do everyday, rain or shine.

  21. in this economy, no one with a job should be complaining to work, even on a holiday.
    lets not forget, this is not exactly a 12 hour shift, still plenty of time to enjoy Mr Inzelbuch’s pie!

    what a generous man! bravo

  22. The importance of pumpkin pie cannot be overemphasized. The care with which it is prepared, therefore, is primary. In fact, making pumpkin pie is a more important skill than any type of carpentry, any aspect of interior decorating, and all fiction writing. The skills and knowledge involved in making pumpkin pie are more important than many other activities as well, but those three are examples of what the world can do without, long before it can do without properly made, specifically seasoned, and longingly loved pumpkin pie.

  23. Is there anything as pleasing,

    in this crisp and cozy season,

    as a slice of smooth and creamy pumpkin pie?

    Flaky crust that tastes like butter,

    pumpkin filling like no other,

    I dare anyone to try and pass it by.

    Cinnamon and nutmeg mingling,

    with a hint of ginger, tingling

    as it punches-up the flavor in each slice.

    Russet-orange, mellow, spicy

    with whipped-cream to top it nicely,

    I can’t help but fill my plate not once but twice.

  24. When I was hired by the bus company I was told of the 4 holidays we would be off. In addition I was informed of the “OTHER” holidays too. I do not drive to only Jewish schools nor to public schools I drive to both. Therefore, I do not get a so called vacation or day off as some are saying. Extremely rare are both school systems off the same time. I Think this mess could have been avoided if the BOE decided to make the announcement EFFECTIVE either January 2012 or for the September 2012-2013 school year NOT spring it at the drivers and bus companies 2 weeks before the major holiday as they did. We all make plans.. Do you think that was fair?

  25. Resolved to its fate,

    Round, orange gourd,

    found in a state.

    crushed and ground,

    pulverized and seasoned,

    a squash pureed for pleasin’.

    Custard and crust

    all baked and cut.

    A dollop of cream,

    set stately on top.

    Cut with a knife,

    finished with a fork.

    Sent to perdition,

    in a devoured condition.

  26. To say that you don’t like pumpkin pie

    Is a mouthful of travesties and a lie, lie, lie.

    With fork in hand you anxiously wait

    For the oven to finish its delectable bake.

    From the kitchen it comes all cooled and yummy,

    So be ready and willing to appease your tummy.

    And if you don’t have enough to sate your fill,

    Then stay at the table and you surely will.

    Its lingering taste is something to cherish,

    So leave none on your plate for any to perish.

    Be quick to say yes when offered another,

    And savor its flavor like there is none other.

  27. In addition to what I said before, I want to add there is no real leadership in this matter. Having a lawyer “put it to the workers” is a very callous way to handle this specific issue.

    This is an emotional issue by school employees who enter their profession knowing full well the norm is they have off for Thanksgiving, aside from what I said earlier that Turkey Day begins a long and valued holiday season for the non-Jewish bus drivers.

    Now my worry is that our children will be getting on busses and sense the tension in the air, and, c”vs, be subject to the cold shoulder, at best. Not good for the kids.

    I vote to give the drivers off. Treat the day as a day where the snow prohibited busses from operating, and let the families do a chesed for the public servants and arrange their own transportation for that day.

    Such chesed will go a long way. But do it before it’s too late as the resentment is already palpable. Make a bad situation a little better. We are suppose to do that anyway!

  28. You can’t ask drivers to work 2 weeks before the holiday alot of us have plans to spend time with family or go away for the weekend. When we have to take off for the jewish holiday WE DO NOT ASK FOR THAT TIME OFF BUT BECAUSE THERE ARE OFF WE HAVE TO TAKE OFF, I don’t see any one giving us pumpkin pie then if this was going to be done then make it for the 2012-2013 school year NOT NOW…………!!!!!

  29. To A Jewish bus driver says:
    Its refreshing to see an honest statement here that is logical and speaks to the issue and nott some off the wall comments that do not make any sense .
    in all the years I worked (40) we always had both Thanksgiving & Christmas off, they were paid Holidays well earned and deserved . While i do not always agree with a Union stance on some issues here is a perfect example why Unions are a necessity to keep the scale of what is right for the worker on an equal footing with management decission

  30. To ?

    Unions are the worst disease to hit our country in the past century. The less there are the better our country will be. Their bosses have consistently shown their contempt for fair dealing and holding the consumers hostage, not to speak about their infamy for (moderated) ]

    Some may have started with good ideas, but they quickly earned their fame for destroying businesses and economies..

    By the way, Greyhound bus lines has a union and they still have a regular WORKING schedule on thanksgiving day..

    So go ahead and try your luck elsewhere.. If you end up happier, then good for you!

  31. Let this Thanksgiving be remembered when on future icy and snowy days your children were not picked up because the bus drivers deemed it was to dangerous to come down your icy or snow covered road.

  32. #32, you make an excellent suggestion. I think it will help somewhat to counter the heavy-handed blow being given to the bus drivers, and those gestures will go a long way. I dont assume we are on the same page with that, but your suggestion is excellent.

  33. I guess all the lakewood bus driver will NOT be providing transportation to the Jewish Schools. I hear a strike coming on….AND MICHAEL CAN NOT DO ANYTHING ABOUT ITTTTT……
    STOP THAT ONE!!!!!

    THIS IS DISCRIMINATION AND I WILL PROVE IT!!!!

  34. Remember that the bus drivers are not public employees or BOE employees they can call a strike be it for one day or one month and not be punished by the BOE. The employer can try and fire them but he could not replace a large number of drivers overnight.

  35. to ?? says:
    Iwould have to say from your response to my posting you never had to work ,maybe you were on the other side of the “fence” and had some bad dealings with unions. Yes there have been some really bad union stuf going on ,however thats the news perception .on the real playing field with negotiations between management & unions from my experience it was a fair & balanced way to come up with an acceptable agreement between parties . I do not agree with what has recently taken place especially SEIU & others I’m speaking from experience of 40 years in the work force in communications industry .
    I have seen first hand bad & good on both sides,but workers without Union protection is one sided and we know what happens when all the power is in the hands management workers rigts get trampled on just as happened here !

  36. Dear Bus driver,

    Please please prove it. Although our schools have no money to properly compensate you for this “discrimination” you could sue greyhound and thousands of other big businesses that operate on thanksgiving. EOE would allow you 25% as whistle-blower. Go for it! Once you are successful we can also sue for all of those denied Jewish holidays.

  37. To those who say there are others who work on Thanksgiving, I have to say, being someone who actually has experience in the workplace, Thanksgiving schedules are made first by for volunteers first, who may want to work.

    One day of a bad BOE decision may not end in one day. Do the right thing for our town. Ask if there are volunteers to drive on that day, and if there are not enough, then give school bus drivers what their colleagues get in 99.99% of the rest of the country. Is that not enough of a percentage to set a precedent???

  38. Let the drivers have a day off. The company I work for accomodates diversity in their schedule. So , while the drivers are obligated by law to come in on Thanksgiving, maybe the BOE can somehow work around that.

  39. The TLS is the only source to keep everyone in our town up to date on issues. They report it as you write it.

    If everyone would take a step back and join hands, love instead of hate Lakewood would be a much better place.

    Lets take a lesson from our children and grow up

  40. My initial reaction is to say “just give them off”!!!its one day and it means a lot to the drivers. I will drive my kids to school one day gladly so someone can enjoy.

  41. I’ve been driving busses in Lakewood for years and I feel its a slap in the face that we have to drive on a holiday that many americans celebrate when the jewish holidays come around public and private schools in lakewood are closed so is it really a big deal for the jews to take a day off and acknowledge our holiays

  42. The biggest problem is that we were only told the week before Thanksgiving that it is mandatory to work. People plan for this holiday weeks, maybe even months in advance. Plane tickets are bought, traveling plans made. Next, yes many people do work on Thanksgiving, as does my husband, but guess what, he gets paid double time and a half!! Third, many comments were “it is just a few hours”, well they are broken hours and the afternoon hours are when most of us should be enjoying our Thanksgiving dinner. Also, many drivers are women who may be cooking that day. The cooking starts early in the morning and continues until dinner time. Last but not least, I am tired of the comment “be thankful you have a job”, well my dear friends that is what we are trying to do Thanksgiving, it is a day of celebration to be thankful for everything we have, including our jobs, but we cannot celebrate it the way we want!

  43. To Curious says:
    I agree , this is the real issue here . Why would all Americans not celebrate Thanksgiving ~ this is an American Holiday not a religious holiday , very disturbing that we have a melting pot of different religious & ethnic groups that make up this country and for some reason some of them do not cherish what this country has done in their defense by ignoring National Holidays that ALL Americans should take part in

  44. I apologize for my antagonizing the community at # 59.

    I have reconsidered my unreasonable attitude and found myself to be caught up in this mob mentality and prone to say anything-it-takes to apply pressure to get my way. I’ve even gone as low as trying to turn this into a religious issue..

    I now realize I was wrong, because there are indeed millions of people who work for countless employers on thanksgiving day and NO allegations of “antagonizing” have ever been made. I’ve searched my soul long and hard and admit my guilt (and perhaps a bit of anti-religious sentiment). I’ve also conferred with some co-workers, and there’s strong suspicion that most of the very nasty comments posted aren’t even from legitimate busdrivers, but rather from busybody rabble-rousers just trying to create some “action.”

    Once again. I am sorry. (although I still would appreciate some kind of bonus for doing my run on thanksgiving 🙂 )

  45. to number 22 thank you , in september we did have a union coming in and if we had been told about the fact that we might have had to work im sure all would have voted yes. our MISTAKE, now i am sure we wish we had that union

  46. Come on Michael. Enforcing the law? Is this a new law? Don’t think so. In that case, you hasn’t the BOE inforced it for the last few years?

  47. One Word…..PATHETIC!!!! If the parents of the private school students want to send the their children to school on Thanksgiving, then they should drive them. If the holiday means nothing to the BOE then they should make the public school officials and students attend school as well. PUMPKIN PIE FOR ALL

  48. This issue is not native to lakewood nj. The media has already grabbed this news . This news is now world wide. It’s your move B.O.E

    BY THE WAY I HATE PUMPKIN PIE

  49. @ 67 no it would not have mattered if the union came in or not, I for one am GLAD the union was voted down not once BUT twice… Thank you to the BOE for screwing up MY holiday with my family, oh and btw, you can take your pumpkin pie and ……………

  50. This is such a slap in the face, a pumpkin pie? That has nothing to do with thanksgiving, it is simply a popular food. Family is at the forefront of this holiday. Many people are not lucky enough to have all of their family in their lives and this is the day of the year that allows for that. It is a very special day. My public school child does not ask for busing on Yom Kippur.

  51. Wow, what a shame this is. I try to keep an “open mind.” However, enough is enough. “If the shoe was on the other foot”… just saying.

  52. there is no law saying the drivers must drive, there is a contract between the bus company and the BOE #41 says it best however these are not school employees and neither are the bus companies the bus companies are contractors and the drivers are employed by them

  53. I’ve read all of the comments and I have only 1 question. What would happen if all of the people who work for the township were forced to work on their religious holidays? After all they took the jobs knowing that they were expected to work those days as school and other township depts. were open?

  54. In response to Pumpkin Pie and Bus Driver,
    I’ve heard it said that most people in this country belong to some type of minority. Everyone has to deal with issues and problems. Did you notice in the article that many families (which has now become several schools who have made it official) have waved their right for busing as a token of appreciation and in the hopes of creating good will and peace. Michael Inzelbuch offered you an added treat for doing something you were hired to do. Might I add … in these economically difficult times, there are probably many individuals willing to do the job that Bus Driver is unwilling to do. When was your contract negotiated? Only a week ago? I doubt it.
    Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Let’s all try to get along.

Comments are closed.