Each and EVERY child deserves a safe way to school #busALLlittleones #mommyonamission
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In October we moved into our new home we purchased in the town of Lockport, N.Y. That Monday we called to set up busing for our son Austin who is 5 years old and in kindergarten. We were shocked when we were told that we live within a mile of the school and he was considered a "walker". We thought, "this is outrageous, he's 5!" There's also no sidewalks, a busy road to cross and winter fast approaching. We were .94 miles away from the school so he would not be bused. Kids were still picked up in our development, on our street, just a few doors down, just not within that mile. The bus parks in front of our home and "hangs out" before it starts its route but our child can't get on the bus? How does this make any sense. It's the bigger bus that is 3/4th empty. How is it fair that not all children get the option of having transportation? I had to prepare that I would be taking my 2 year old and my newborn out everyday to take Austin to school and pick him up. We wrote a letter arguing our case but heard nothing back. We were fortunate enough to have such helpful neighbors that offered to take Austin in the morning and I would only have to do afternoon pick up which helped tremendously. A week before Christmas break our second car broke down, I could no longer pick up my child from school. I called the board of ed., I was transferred to someone who's head of transportation. I explained our situation and I asked only that our son be included only in drop off after school for the time being to help until we were able to get another car. We didn't want Austin to miss school and thought "well the bus is headed this way it's not out of the way". They don't need to hire anyone extra, spend more money on gas, etc. I do pay school taxes like everybody else. After they had a meeting and I could finally get a hold of somebody I was told "your request was denied, we don't make exceptions, not even for hardships." At this point I'm furious because they are basically telling me my child doesn't matter, no one's child matters, getting them to school to learn doesn't matter. I told the gentleman that I would not be quiet about this, that I would go to the news and he then proceeded to tell me "go right ahead and waste your time, many have tried and failed and the law is on our side." How could a law be in place that's not for the safety of our children and getting them to school? Instead there should be a law in place against your district leaving your children out! I concluded It's NOT important to our district that our children come to school, it's NOT important that they get their safely either. I looked into this New York State law which allows districts to avoid busing children who live within 2 miles of their school. So, Lockport school district thinks that it is doing us a favor for choosing a mile. Clearly not taking anything else into consideration like the safety of that distance. This law is insane, we never thought to look into this before purchasing our home because common sense told us no one in their right mind that had children would think this is ok. Yet we all pay school taxes, I pay no less because our child is considered a walker. Austin missed 3 days of school because it was too cold for me to walk with all my babies in this cold and not to mention dangerous. I decided I would take Austin out last week on this walk that the district expected our child to make. It made me sick. I took pictures of him walking down this slippery snowy road as cars passed having no regard of a little person on the road. You'd think that they would slow down. We made it to the busy road that he's expected to cross, the road that has a speed limit of 35mph. Yes there is a nice little crossing, however there's no sign cautioning you to slow down but how many people really follow that if there was, there's only a caution of a crossing ahead. Cars sped right by us, I can't tell you how many out of the dozen cars we saw were on their phone. I didn't feel safe or comfortable as an adult even though I was cautious and aware of my surroundings. Then after we crossed we'd be walking down a pathway, somewhat wooded, out of sight, where it could be accessed by some backyards. All I thought was if any child was making this trip alone they could disappear right here and no one would know. The risks added up during this almost mile walk one way. I would not expect my child to do this everyday, not once, not ever, or anyone's child. Not in today's world, it's not because he's not "tough enough" but because it's not safe! Any child walking to school is at risk of getting hit by a car, as is the adult that's with them if they are accompanied. There's so much about child trafficking out there, how could they expect us to put our children in such danger. Then there's also the Buffalo cold. Events are cancelled due to frigid weather, but a child is supposed to endure that and walk through those school doors and be ready to learn! It outraged me, not only for me but for any family experiencing these similar situations. I could not and will not accept this. What if some of these children get themselves ready for school and walk out those doors without warm gear, without winter boots? So many alarming questions came to mind, I would love for the law makers and board members to take a walk and see if they could or would do this everyday. I would ask the law makers, board members, policy makers to not expect from these young children what they themselves would not do. Would you walk a mile to work everyday? Highly doubtful! You should be ashamed of yourselves. I felt the lack of compassion or concern for my family or any family in this community, I was angry, I still am. You never know someone's situation, not everyone has two vehicles, maybe not even one, not everyone has help from family or friends. I'm willing to bet there's single parents out there struggling to balance and get it all done. This has so many problems surrounding it I can't keep track of them all. I assumed this before but even more so now after I shared our story and received so much support, messages and those willing to help. We need to come together for those that don't have a voice, those families and children that are in this situation. Yes, I imagine there will be a few of those having negative things to say and that will try to discourage because there always is, I've encountered them. They will tell us that our children need to toughen up, that we are requesting that our children be pampered and have special treatment. That we walked for years to school, etc. Well yes we did but that doesn't mean it's right that we expect that now and that our kids should have to. We should do better, we can do better! Asking for a safe way to school for all children is not asking for them to be pampered, it's something every single one of them deserve. Some children only have school that they feel safe in, what if they can't make it there. No child should be excluded, left out and no family should be left to figure it out. What we are trying to accomplish is good!! I'm willing to bet life changing for some families. We were able to buy our second vehicle during winter break but this does not mean that this fight is over just because we finally have a safe way to get OUR child to school, because there's still plenty of YOUR children dealing with this outrageous policy. It is our responsibility to stand up for those children! I can imagine the panic that a parent feels that was in our situation and doesn't have an out. Then you have the district wondering why the absences are high but fail to help those families get their babies to school. No child should be abandoned by their district. These families that are within that ridiculous one mile radius I feel for you and I will fight with you. This policy needs to change! As a community I hope we can come together and make that change. Please do your part and join me, sign and pass it on!
Sincerely, Ready for a fight!! #mommyonamission #busALLlittleones #lockportschooldistrict #ALLchildrenmatter
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