Some Atlanta parents are outraged that school buses will no longer pick up their children.
A district policy means students within a designated area close to their schools will have to find their own way to get to school. The policy has been on the books for years, but the district is now enforcing it. Some parents believe that puts their children in danger.
Channel 2 Action News found parents, including Chandra Gallashaw, walking their children to nearby Charles Gideons Elementary in southwest Atlanta.
“My first-grader wants to ride the bus, but there is no bus, so we are all out here waiting on the bus and the bus is not here,” Gallashaw said.
The policy by Atlanta Public Schools doesn't allow buses to pick up elementary school students who live within a mile of their schools. The boundaries are extended to a mile-and-half for middle and high school students.
Gallashaw and others said students walking to school will be exposed to the street’s dangers in an area plagued by drugs, prostitution and gang activity. According to a Channel 2 count in 2008, there were at least 300 vacant houses surrounding Gideons Elementary and Parks Middle School.
“The school bus was our safety zone,” one parent said.
An APS representative said the decision was made with resources and efficiency in mind and that parents should have received notice. The district also said exceptions to the rule will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Anyone with questions involving special-needs students, safety or construction issues is asked to contact the school directly.