Parents: Katy ISD bus changes put kids in danger

August 11, 2012 8:09:57 PM PDT
Parents throughout our area are getting ready for their children to head back to school, but those in Katy Independent School District are not just worried about school supplies. Some say they are also worried about getting their kids to school safely.

According to parents, changes in the bus routes in Katy leave children walking down busy roads with no sidewalks to and from school every day.

Starting this fall, some children who live within a one-mile radius of their designated school will no longer have the option to take the bus. Those kids will have to walk to school or get a ride with parents.

"I think its unsafe and I think it's too far," parent Shannon Cantrell said.

Back in May, Katy ISD's board of trustees changed the requirements as a result of the transportation department having a hard time finding bus drivers to meet the district's daily transportation needs.

According the district, transportation will still be provided for children who have special needs and for children where a hazardous condition may exist between their home and their school.

Parents we spoke with Saturday said they are outraged about the changes.

"Our kids would have to walk a minimum of two miles if they were to go up Mason Road, which is very, very busy high-traffic area," Cantrell said.

"It's a safety issue for our children," parent Jeremy Golden said. "How many children have to get run over on Kingsland, which is a very busy street, and on Mason Road? That's major throughfare with no sidewalks at all."

These parents even hit the streets Saturday to get a petition signed to try and bring back the buses.

"What about pedophiles? This is, like, a perfect opportunity for them, and I don't like that," parent Jessica Canales said. "I don't feel safe."

In a statement released to us Saturday, Katy ISD says:

"This was a very difficult decision as we knew it would impact many families who rely on bus transportation for their children. We know that safety is very important issue. Knowing there will be more students walking to and from school, we have added sidewalks and crossing guards where needed at some of our campuses. We will also be increasing patrols around schools in the mornings and afternoons."

Students we spoke to are also voicing their concerns, citing unpredictable weather conditions and fears of being abducted among the reasons they are disappointed with the changes.

"I think it's pretty pathetic," said Hailee Polichnia, a seventh grader who will have to walk to school. "Most kids live far away from the school so they can't really walk because it's either too hot or too cold."

Students in Katy head back to school on August 27. That is when the new bus routes and changes take effect.


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