APS Bus Passes on the chopping block - how does this affect your family?
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Our recent traffic woes have shined a light on Atlanta’s poor mass transit system as well as our dependence on cars. The last thing Atlanta needs is more cars on our roads. An important piece of public transportation is now in danger of being lost.
Atlanta Public School (APS) is in the process of revoking its bus transportation policy of allowing a student, with parent permission, to ride the bus home with another student (see ** below). This past January, Morningside Elementary School sent an email stating that APS was no longer allowing bus passes for Atlanta Public Schools. However, the original policy did not change on the APS website until after a parent had made an inquiry to Morningside administration in May. Other schools have not been informed of this change.
Allowing kids to go home from school with one another helps our community in many ways. For one, it keeps extra cars off the roads*. This ride-share facilitates students when working on school group projects. It can be the difference between a parent’s being able to work or not. Many parents rely on one another for after school childcare coverage or getting kids to group lessons/activities. Some kids may return to an empty home because their parents are at work. Other kids in our community are homeless or their parents are without transportation. By allowing a child to ride the school bus home with a friend, they are able to be in a home with a parent present or, for some, fed a much-needed snack or meal. These after school get-togethers help foster close relationships and social development among the children and families. Denying families these APS rides home with a friend becomes the difference between kids’ being able to spend relaxed, unstructured time with friends or not at all. These rides not only foster social development, they are also a major factor in keeping a healthy, tight-knit community.
*By not allowing students to ride home with other students, parents will be required to drive students to and from other students homes, and/or to and from group lessons/activities. This increases traffic in Atlanta. An important piece of public transportation is lost by revoking the school transportation policy of allowing a student, with parent permission, to ride the bus home with another student.
Please sign this petition to show the Atlanta Board of Education and APS Transportation that we do not want them to take away this vital part of public transportation.
**APS Transportation FAQs
"To avoid multiple problems, the driver requires a note, signed by the parent and school administrator to alter the destination of students. This allows the drivers to focus on driving and safety instead of having to decide whether the student should be allowed to change their routine and get off with a friend or ride to an entirely different neighborhood. This should be the decision of the parent. The driver has no other way to verify that the parent has made this decision. This policy avoids confusion and the chance of students getting lost or running away.”
**APS 2016/17 Student Handbook - School Bus Conduct - page 68
"Students are to ride their assigned bus unless the driver is provided a written note signed by a parent/guardian and school principal before he/she is allowed to ride a different bus or to go home with another student.”
http://www.atlantapublicschools.us/cms/lib/GA01000924/Centricity/Domain/94/web final 2016__APS Student HANDBOOK.pdf
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