1-mile rule upheld pupils to walk to Fountain Green Parents say trip is too dangerous

August 01, 1993|By Sherrie Ruhl | Sherrie Ruhl,Staff Writer

Despite protests from parents in the Greenridge II community, children living just east of Fountain Green Elementary will walk to their school when it opens Aug. 30.

At a meeting Monday night, the school board voted unanimously to uphold the 30-year-old one-mile rule, which says that elementary children can walk up to one mile to school. Secondary children can be required to walk about 1 1/2 miles.

Parents in the community had vigorously campaigned for an exception, saying that speeding cars and construction equipment used to build new homes near the school created a dangerous environment for the 240 or so children who will attend the new school.

Myra Estes, a day care provider in the neighborhood, said there are few stay-at-home parents in the community.

More than 400 people in the community had signed a petition requesting bus service.

/# Laura Mathieu, who lives almost

exactly a mile from the school, said she plans to walk her first-grader, Rickie, back and forth from school each day.

"We only have one car and my husband needs that to get to work, so we can't car pool," she said. Mrs. Mathieu said it takes her about 30 minutes in good weather, pushing her 2-year-old son in a stroller, to walk to the school.

"We do live in a very nice neighborhood, but I don't care how good your child is, children don't always stop to look both ways at intersections, and I'm still worried about crime against children," she said.

Mrs. Mathieu, Mrs. Estes and other parents in the community, said they would continue to lobby the school board to change the one-mile rule.

Schools Superintendent Ray R. Keech said the residential neighborhood, which has sidewalks, is considerably safer than many other neighborhoods where students now walk to school.

He said if the school system made an exception for the Greenridge II children it would have to make other exceptions, perhaps resulting in busing all children.

That would add about $2.3 million to the annual $11.5 million school transportation costs.

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