Free transportation for students at Lowell High School

Free transportation for students at Lowell High School

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Petition to
Mr. Jeffery C. Riley and

Why this petition matters

Started by Bella Jimenez

What follows is a letter to Mr. Jeffery C. Riley, who is being asked to help change this situation so that students can have free transportation.

(From a student's point of view)

As a freshman at Lowell High School, I am concerned about transportation to and from school for my education and the education of others. I'm new to Lowell, and I've never been more surprised to learn that students/parents must pay for the bus or obtain a bus pass in order to get to school. And I was perplexed when I first rode the bus because my mother didn't have a car for transportation. It was absurd that I had to go to the shuttle (paying twice because I was picked up first) and then be dropped off at school. To speak specifically about how to get to school in the morning, you must first be at your "bus stop," then while being picked up, you are dropped off at the "shuttle," and finally at school. And while on the shuttle, you are exposed to others (adults) and are not even taken directly to the school. If we're being completely honest, there are students who aren’t fortunate enough to have enough money to pay for that on a monthly basis. A bus pass costs $25, and if you miss the deadline to when you can buy one, you'll have to pay $50, twice as much a month. As we all know, it is fall, and winter is right around the corner. It is still very cold right now, but it will start snowing soon, and students who aren't fortunate enough to afford bus passes will have to walk in the snow. And while $25 may not seem like a lot, it is, especially when spread out over the course of the school year (11 months) (off days do not count because it is for the month). That is $275 per student per school year spent on bus passes, and those who are unaware of bus passes must pay twice as much ($550)... or walk. Consider the parents who have more than one child. This, in my opinion, is profiteering from students. All we want is an easy and safe way to get to and from school, and walking in the freezing cold or the scorching heat of summer is not an option. Especially since we are in a large city, which could be very dangerous. Also, drivers in the winter, as well as people who could potentially harm students walking to school, play a significant role in this. A shooting happened right near me on Westford St., and the person sadly died; it happened at night, but what's to say it wouldn't happen during the day? It would be safer for all students to ride the bus rather than witnessing something they should not have to witness when going to school for their education. We, as minors, should be provided with free transportation. Should I mention how difficult it would be to walk in the snow? The possibility that the city will not shovel all sidewalks? There are numerous negative factors at work here. As students, all we want is to be able to go to school and get an education, and transportation is a huge factor in this. “All children in grades kindergarten through six who reside more than two miles from the school they are entitled to attend and the nearest school bus stop is more than one mile from their residence and all children residing in regional school districts in grades kindergarten through twelve.” “Entitlement”, if we have the right to travel to a school bus stop for transportation, why would we do so at any cost? Every school day, I see students walking in this cold weather, shivering from a lack of proper clothing. We don't know if they can afford it, but you'd think if they could, they'd buy the appropriate attire... It is not fair in any way, and something needs to be done about it. I should also mention that the bus used for students is not a bus route... It is a city route, and there have been several occasions when I have taken the bus to school in the morning and there have been adult strangers on the bus... How is that safe or even permissible? “Student is transported from home school (A) located in school district, then to another school (B) located in the school district, and after the completion of an instructional program is returned to school (A). From school (A) the student is transported home.

Distance from home school (A) in excess of 1-1/2 miles one direction and home again is reimbursed under the provisions of Chapter 71, Sections 7A, 7B, 16C or Chapter 74, Section 8A.” "Reimbursed" means "repaid" (a person who has spent or lost money). Why should we have to pay at all if we will be reimbursed? We shouldn't even have to pay to begin with. Many people are unaware of this because they have adapted to the environment in which they pay for transportation... It shouldn't be that way, in my opinion, because it's very sad. In the past, I've never had to wonder or worry about whether I'd be able to get to school or if I'd have to walk miles to learn. 

(From a parents point of view)

I express my greatest concern for the students in Lowell Public Schools since they are being restricted their right to education. This statement is made with the reassurance that these children who reside at a distance of 1.6 miles and 1.8 miles have to walk to school or have the option to buy a monthly bus pass, please see the following link since that is the only means of transportation offered to them. According to children who reside in the state of Massachusetts have the entitlement of the means of transportation to gain their human right to an education.“Eligibility, All children in grades kindergarten through six who reside more than two miles from the school they are entitled to attend and the nearest school bus stop is more than one mile from their residence, and all children residing in regional school districts in grades kindergarten through twelve. Exceptions to this policy may be made when road conditions do not provide for the physical safety of the children and when the health of students make this service essential.” ( 

Living in the northeastern part of the United States we all understand that weather plays a major factor in our everyday lives forcing us as a human the defend our wellbeing which would include having a nice warm jacket (which we all know are not cheap), Sweaters (Hoodies, also not cheap), thermos to have underneath clothes (most of us double layer), gloves, hats, nice warm socks, and nice warm shoes. When you are a single parent of four children who is surviving off of a fixed state TAFDC income of $950.00 Month and have to pay car insurance, cell phones, internet (because nowadays it’s crucial to surviving),  storage fees (monthly because of an unfortunate living situation), gas (since I am being forced to drive them), laundry detergent, soap, shampoo, toothpaste, laundry quarters, cleaning supplies (because of COVID-19 need to ensure cleanliness), etc. 

Many families are struggling to make ends meet! In my particular situation, I would have to purchase 3 student bus passes at the price of $25.00= $75.00 Monthly, Yearly I will be looking at $900.00. This number may not seem BIG to many but any number is BIG because it should be an entitlement meaning that there should be no number attached. If you don’t have a working vehicle your child will either need to walk or pay for a bus. If they have to walk they need to ensure that they are dressed for the weather which at times can be difficult to attain all the essentials to stay warm especially when you are buying for many children. Safety is another great concern because when it snows the sidewalks are not cleared immediately and it risks having to have the students walk on the road. Another main concern is that these young children are being exposed to the general public from your home all the way to the school en route either when walking to school or taking the bus since they are not driven directly to the school. I humbly ask that you review my concerns as a parent for ALL of these children, and reconsider the system in place now since it is not benefiting any of these young students. 

102 have signed. Let’s get to 200!