Parent upset over school bus policy

By Crystal Price - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Louisiana Revised Statute 17:158 has been around for decades.

According to the law, school districts across the state of Louisiana are required to provide school bus transportation only to students who live more than 1 mile of the school.

But one parent in Jeff Davis Parish feels his children should have the opportunity to ride the bus.

"The school board created these imaginary lines of who gets to ride and who doesn't get to ride," says Orise Cormier, a concerned parent from Jeff Davis Parish.

Cormier lives just under a mile from where his two children attend school in Jeff Davis Parish.

"We actually have two buses that pass down our street, but our kids are not allowed to ride that bus because we are in the walk zone," says Cormier.

"Our walk zones have been established for generations," says Harry Kyle, Director of Transportation for Jeff Davis Parish Schools.

Kyle enforces that the bus route policy is state law.

"The Jeff Davis Parish School Board follows the state transportation handbook policy that requires us to provide free transportation to those students who live more than a mile from their school," says Kyle.

But there are a few exceptions to the rule, however.

Students who live within a mile of school can receive bus rides if they feel they are in an "exceptional" or hazardous situation.

Cormier addressed the school board about the absence of sidewalks in his neighborhood being a safety hazard for his children.

But the school board failed to address his concern.

"Most of our streets in Jeff Davis Parish and our towns don't have sidewalks and the board has not considered the absence of a sidewalk as a major safety hazard," says Kyle.

But Cormier disagrees with the school board's view of the sidewalk issue.

"I definitely would consider it a hazardous situation," says Cormier. "I don't think any parent would want their child walking on the street. What I'd like to see happen is them provide transportation for all of the kids in the parish."

Cormier says he does plan to attend the next school board meeting on October 15th.

He encourages other parents to come forward and voice their opinions regarding the parish's walk zone.

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