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Bus-ted

by Mary McCarthybus

Welcome to Back to School season, everyone! Aahh, peanut butter and jelly, binder dividers, and thousands of trees falling as paperwork piles to the ceiling. So charming.

Forgive me, readers, while I step up onto this soap box for a tiny moment.

Did you know that it is the formal policy of the Board of Education of Queen Anne's County NOT to bus high school students who live within a MILE AND A HALF of the school? As in, a kid who lives at, say the Wharf, is supposed to walk to the high school in rain, darkness (they'd have to leave their house before 7 a.m.) or on icy sidewalks. Across a state highway. Twice. Past potentially unsavory characters outside the laundromat. Past several intersections at a busy shopping center with no crosswalks. Oh, and uphill both ways.

Ok, just kidding on the last one, but seriously?

This is TOWNIE DISCRIMINATION. Last time I checked, we pay THE SAME TAXES as those who live out in Sudlersville and cost the school system a heckuva lot more in gas to get their kid to the high school. There are at least 3-4 buses that come through downtown Centreville in the morning, and only a handful of underclassmen (the upperclassmen usually drive, or get picked up by friends) in town who would be riding the bus.

I wrote a letter to the Superintendent and the members of the School Board regarding what I feel is an outdated, unfair, unsafe policy that needs to be re-examined. To her credit, I got a phone call from Superintendent Williamson the same day. At first, I wasn't happy about her answer that 'this is the way it has always been done' and 'other school systems do it this way,' but her promise to re-examine the policy, in addition to a prompt email response from Board President Vito Tinelli, have left me optimistic that in the future, moms like me who have multiple kids in multiple schools will not be expected to drive their in-town student to the high school on rainy mornings.

Mary McCarthy (marymac)
blog: Pajamas and Coffee

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