Public School Forces Kids To Take the Bus Home. Walking Is Faster.
Jessie Thompson’s kids, ages 9, 10 and 11, would like to walk home together, but James H. Spann Elementary School in Summerville, South Carolina, won’t let them leave without an adult.
When Thompson asked if she could sign some sort of waiver, the assistant principal told her: “Students will not be allowed to walk home by themselves.” If an adult does not pick them up, the kids must take the bus. The bus ride actually takes longer than the 20 minute walk. Moreover, in the era of COVID-19, walking is arguably safer—and certainly more comfortable.
While other elementary schools in the area allow kids to walk home, Principal Shane Sanford put his foot down and the school district backed him up. In response, Thompson hired an attorney, Ashley Ameika, who wrote the district on October 14, imploring them to reverse course. The school has refused to change its policy.
When I called Sanford last week, I was forwarded to the district’s public information officer, Pat Raynor, who said, “I cannot go into specifics because of family privacy.” Well, what about a generic family wanting their kids to walk home, I asked.
“I will say just that in general the policies and guidelines in place for our schools regarding the safety of our children and staff depend on things such as the location of the school,” Raynor replied. Sanford apparently believes the streets around his school are too dangerous for children to navigate.
To get to the school, pedestrians must cross a four-lane highway, which has a crosswalk with stoplights and Walk/Don’t Walk signs. The Thompson kids do this all the time, on their
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