Humble ISD refuses to bus kids nearly two miles from elementary school

By Joel Eisenbaum, Investigative Reporter, Anchor, jeisenbaum@kprc.com
Published On: Aug 21 2013 10:17:56 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 21 2013 11:11:18 PM CDT

Aug. 21, 2013: The Humble Independent School District is refusing to bus children who live in an apartment complex nearly two miles from their elementary school. Joel Eisenbaum reports.

HUMBLE, Texas -

The Humble Independent School District is refusing to bus children who live in an apartment complex nearly two miles from their elementary school.

"You're asking not just 9-year-old kids to walk four miles a day, you're asking 5-year-old kids to walk nearly four miles a day," Kimberly Davis, a parent, said.

Davis' 9-year-old son, Christian, appears to have two available walking routes to Ridge Creek Elementary school, but neither one is appealing to either Christian or Kimberly.

"One route is along Beltway 8, it's dangerous, it's not even an option. So, he is going to have to go where sex offenders are in the neighborhoods."

Local 2 Investigates confirmed seven sex offenders live within blocks of the most viable route.

"Actually, it's a major deal," Christian Davis, about to start fourth grade, said.

Kimberly Davis said she can not drive her child to school in the morning because she is a single parent who works.

Davis talked to several people at Humble ISD trying to persuade them to add a new route, but no luck.

"We would love to provide a bus to every home but state funding doesn't make that possible," Jamie Mount, Public Relations Director for Humble ISD, said.

Mount is referring to a part of the Texas Education Code that spells out that the State will only reimburse school districts for a student's bus costs if the student is two miles or more from school.

In Christian's case, the figure the district calculated is 1.75 miles. Local 2 came up with a similar figure of 1.8 miles.

"This area is being treated no differently than any other area in the school district," Mount said.

There are exceptions to the two mile rule for dangerous crossings. But Humble ISD has determined Christian and his classmates who live in the same apartment complex, don't meet the criteria.

Local 2 found that most school districts use the same standard, including the Houston Independent School District.

Davis is now trying to coordinate with other parents to possibly arrange a carpool system.

Mount suggests parents can also take turns escorting a group of children to and from school, or hire a chaperone or babysitter to do the same thing.

In some cases, public transportation can also be an option, it is not in Davis' case. Bicycle riding can be quicker than walking, but may not satisfy safety concerns.

Humble ISD provided the following information on a worksheet for parents and students, called "Tips for a Safe Walk to School":

Parents should identify the safest route, practice it with their children, and teach children to not vary from that route.

Students should walk in groups and not alone. If anything unusual occurs, be sure to immediately report it to a parent or school staff member.

Never accept rides that were not arranged in advance by your parents.

Look left, right, left, behind you and in front of you before you begin crossing the street.

Obey traffic signs and signals.

When you are near the street the street, do not push, shove or chase.

Wear bright colors so drivers can see you more easily.

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