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Howard County parents upset over bus changes impacting thousands | #schoolsaftey


Some parents in Howard County are upset by changes to the transportation policy, taking buses away from thousands of students who are now considered within walking range to school. Parents said the transportation policy was amended quietly, without a public hearing. Many of them spoke out at the school board meeting Thursday night, wanting them to change it back.”It’s not safe. It’s not equitable. It makes it harder for children to get to school,” parent Corinne Happel said.After appeals, bus service was restored for some students, but more than 2,000 still have no bus transportation this year. Some middle and high school students must walk one-and-a-half to two miles each way.Jennifer Duan’s 12-year-old son is one of them. She said he walks three miles round-trip each day.”My biggest fear is safety. Even though he is tired, he doesn’t complain much. He’s a tough kid, but as a parent, I do get worried, because I don’t have the option of picking him up or dropping him off because of my work,” Duan said.The Howard County superintendent’s report showed incidents of strangers approaching kids walking to school increased from one to three this year. That doesn’t include the two students who were robbed at gunpoint on their way home from school last week.The report also showed that tardiness has nearly doubled from last year among the students who lost their bus.”That’s significant. That means they arrive late to school. Their teachers have to catch them up, but that also slows down the kids in class who arrived on time,” Corinne said.The board listened to 90 minutes of testimony from people who hope leaders will rescind the changes to the policy — one they said was put in place without their input.”We moved to Howard County because of the safety and the excellence of education. To do something this major and drastic, to our family, to the community, without involving the children, involving the parents’ input, is heartbreaking,” Duan said.Howard County Public Schools did not respond to a request for comment. It’s not clear yet what the board will decide.

Some parents in Howard County are upset by changes to the transportation policy, taking buses away from thousands of students who are now considered within walking range to school.

Parents said the transportation policy was amended quietly, without a public hearing. Many of them spoke out at the school board meeting Thursday night, wanting them to change it back.

“It’s not safe. It’s not equitable. It makes it harder for children to get to school,” parent Corinne Happel said.

After appeals, bus service was restored for some students, but more than 2,000 still have no bus transportation this year. Some middle and high school students must walk one-and-a-half to two miles each way.

Jennifer Duan’s 12-year-old son is one of them. She said he walks three miles round-trip each day.

“My biggest fear is safety. Even though he is tired, he doesn’t complain much. He’s a tough kid, but as a parent, I do get worried, because I don’t have the option of picking him up or dropping him off because of my work,” Duan said.

The Howard County superintendent’s report showed incidents of strangers approaching kids walking to school increased from one to three this year. That doesn’t include the two students who were robbed at gunpoint on their way home from school last week.

The report also showed that tardiness has nearly doubled from last year among the students who lost their bus.

“That’s significant. That means they arrive late to school. Their teachers have to catch them up, but that also slows down the kids in class who arrived on time,” Corinne said.

The board listened to 90 minutes of testimony from people who hope leaders will rescind the changes to the policy — one they said was put in place without their input.

“We moved to Howard County because of the safety and the excellence of education. To do something this major and drastic, to our family, to the community, without involving the children, involving the parents’ input, is heartbreaking,” Duan said.

Howard County Public Schools did not respond to a request for comment. It’s not clear yet what the board will decide.



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