Protesters Rally Against APS Bus Policy

Photo+Credit%3A+Ciena+Leshley
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Protesters Rally Against APS Bus Policy

Photo Credit: Ciena Leshley

Photo Credit: Ciena Leshley

Photo Credit: Ciena Leshley

Photo Credit: Ciena Leshley

The Southerner

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Photo Credit: Ciena Leshley

BY ALEX WOLFE 

The Atlanta Public School’s Board of Education meeting on Aug. 13 was met by a loud rally from concerned parents. These parents were objecting to the enforcement of a one-mile walk-zone around elementary schools and a 1.5-mile walk-zone around middle and high schools in APS. Through this policy, buses can no longer pick up students living within this walk-zone.

While this policy has been in effect for many years, buses have made at least 1,000 overall “courtesy stops” in these walk-zones last year. Now, however, these stops have been eliminated in an effort to decrease district-wide costs, angering parents over its implementation, the lack of communication, and the hazardous areas through which some of their children will have to walk.

At the rally, protestors waved signs with slogans reading, ‘Kids First,’ ‘Erase the Board,’ and ‘Child Safety over $$$$$’ amidst loud honking from passing cars. Parents yelled complaints through megaphones and started chants, spouting phrases such as “The Bus Stops Here” and “Child Neglect from APS.”

After protesting for more than an hour, parents began to file into the crowded APS Board meeting. At 6:15 p.m., 28 people came up to the podium to voice their concerns about the bus issues. The board was met with demands, tears, and ‘Amen’s’.

Dominique Buford told the board what her 6-year-old daughter, Akia Wharfin, had said about the situation.

“I don’t even want to go to school any more if I have to walk,” Wharfin said.

After listening to parents’ concerns, the board decided to revisit the issue on Aug. 15.

 

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