What's Bugging You: Mom Says Mile Walk To School Too Long For 5-Year-Old

By: Caroline Vandergriff Email
By: Caroline Vandergriff Email

What's bugging you, Mid-Michigan? One parent says the school bus policy for the Lansing School District is what's bugging her.

With two young sons and a full-time job running a day care from her home, mornings are a busy time for Jenna Fosburg. Since her husband works first shift, the family planned to rely on the school bus to get their five-year-old son Jackson to and from kindergarten at STEM Academy.

However, according to the Lansing School District, any home within a one and a half mile radius of the school is considered to be in walking distance, so Jackson can't get a ride from the bus.

"For a five-year-old to walk a mile to school, which is door to door, Ijust think that's too far," said Fosburg. I fought it, I talked to the board and a couple different people. They said it seemed like a feasible thing to do, an exception, to get a bus to come through and pick up my son because of his age and because he's starting a new school. But as of early this week, they said all the bus routes are full, and I'm on my own."

If Jackson walked to school, it would be a pretty straight shot from his house on Gordon Street to STEM Academy. But in order to reach the school, he has to cross seven different streets by himself, including Pleasant Grove, which gets a good amount of traffic. His mom says, for a five-year-old, the 0.9 mile walk is just too dangerous.

"You think the worst," said Fosburg. "You absolutely think the worst. You don't think your child could walk down the road a mile to school and be fine. I've looked up kidnapping statistics and it's like one child every 80 seconds gets kidnapped or is reported missing. I'm not doing it."

For now, Fosburg's friend takes Jackson to school, and her husband leaves work early to pick him up, but Fosburg says it's just a temporary solution.

"I'm hoping the board wakes up and says hey, a mile and a half is far for a K though 8th school, and that's my only hope right now," said Fosburg.

News 10 looked into a few other area school districts' bus policies to see if the 1.5 mile walking distance policy was common.

For Jackson Public Schools, students in 1st through 8th grades must live more than 1.5 miles from school to get picked up by the school bus, but the majority of kindergarteners, regardless of where they live, can get a ride as well. For Grand Ledge Public Schools,, the same 1.5 mile walking requirement exists, but the school says it takes into account the age of the student and safety concerns to make exceptions.

One parent we talked to, whose child attends an elementary school in Waverly's school district, says the bus picks up his young daughter for school every morning, and the family only lives three blocks away from the school.

If nothing changes, Fosburg says she'll have to find a different school for Jackson next year - one that can provide busing. She says letting her son walk by himself to school is just not an option, especially when she considers the change of seasons, when her five-year-old could be walking a mile to school in freezing temperatures and four inches of snow.

"I'm at my wits end right now," Fosburg said. "I just can't believe this is going on."


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