(WSVN) - A 7-year-old boy has to walk eight blocks down a busy street — without sidewalks — to catch the school bus every day. Does the school district have to make sure children are safe while on the way to the stop? The answer in Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
Toni’s grandson was born and raised in West Africa, so when he came with his parents to the U.S. last year, it was an eye opener.
Toni Fraser, Tylor’s grandmother: “Well, I took him to the car wash for the first time, and then he’d see the bubbles coming down, the flappers coming, and he was amazed.”
Things in the U.S. amaze Tylor. Tylor amazes Toni.
Toni Fraser: “I’m just enjoying every minute of being with him. I’m 73 years old, and I feel like I’m sometimes 20 when I’m with him.”
With Tylor’s mom about to give birth to another child, Toni has been helping out, including walking with Tylor to catch the school bus.
Toni Fraser: “It’s just unbelievable.”
Unbelievable is an understatement.
Toni Fraser: “It’s very, very dangerous walking in the grass, and the road is so narrow. There’s really no place to walk.”
Every day, Toni and Tylor walk to the end of their street, make a left turn and walk eight blocks down A1A to the bus stop.
The road weaves and turns as the cars and trucks come by Toni and Tylor during that walk down A1A.
Toni Fraser: “There’s also all kinds of cement trucks working, trucks coming, flying by. They’re not going slow.”
That frightens Toni. What’s confusing her is the school bus goes by Tylor on his walk to the bus stop then returns back down A1A.
Toni Fraser: “They pass the house, exactly. They pass the house twice.”
Toni said she contacted her grandson’s school and the transportation department. Their only words were, “Don’t walk across the street to get to the sidewalk on the other side.”
Toni Fraser: “They don’t want us to cross A1A because it’s too dangerous.”
But walking down this side, this close to the traffic, didn’t alarm them.
Toni Fraser: “I’ve asked them. They say it’s not a hazard condition.”
Being told this walk was not dangerous turned a concerned Toni into a fuming grandmother worried about her grandson.
Toni Fraser: “I’m sure anybody that works for the school district would never want to have their child walking down that area.”
When daylight savings time kicks in in a few weeks, it’s going to be dark when Tylor and Toni make this walk in the morning. That really gets Toni going.
Toni Fraser: “Senseless. It’s so dangerous.”
Tylor: “No, I don’t like walking.”
Toni Fraser: “Frustrated and disappointed.”
Well Howard, can the school district force a 7-year-old to walk down a road like this to catch a bus?
Howard Finkelstein, 7 News Legal Expert: “State law and the State Board of Education say that bus stops for students have to be in a safe place. That also includes getting to the bus stop. I walked down A1A when I was in high school. It wasn’t safe then, and it sure isn’t safe now for a child. The district needs to fix this before someone gets hurt or killed.”
Apparently, the people Toni had been talking to were not aware of the danger Tylor was facing each day. When we talked to the district office spokesperson, she moved quickly.
Toni wanted Tylor picked up at the end of his street. The Broward School District did her one better. They will now pick Tylor up in front of his house.
Tylor: “Thank you, Help Me Howard.”
Tylor is happy. Toni is relieved.
Toni Fraser: “It’s such a wonderful feeling that I feel safe. He feels safe. Thank you again, Help Me Howard.”
Glad they are happy, and of course, safer. Now, Toni was trying to fix this the way you are told to resolve it by talking to the school and transportation department. We went to the district office to get it straightened out, so if you don’t think your child is safe catching the bus, go up the chain of command. Bug everyone along the way to get what you want.
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