BEAVERTON, Ore. (KOIN 6) — As the next school year is about to begin, one local mother is worried her child won’t have a safe route back and forth to high school.
Under school rules, the mother, who only identified herself as Jennifer, told KOIN 6 News that her daughter has no bus options in Beaverton and is being forced to walk nearly 1.5 miles to her high school.
“Lots of people running red lights, lack of visibility from the cross walks,” said Jennifer.
The single mother said her home sits just 0.1 mile shy of being eligible for her daughter to ride the bus.
“My biggest frustration is that taxpayers are paying good dollars for our kiddos to go to school. I pay my taxes every year. All I’m asking is let’s safely get the kids to school,” said Jennifer.
Her safety concerns include intersections, such as the one at Southwest 10th Street and Allen Boulevard, and wooded areas, where Jennifer feels someone could be hiding.
Jennifer said her daughter is scared about having to walk so far to school.
“She’s very fearful. Back in March of this year, there was a very violent sexual assault. It was about a mile from our home where a random woman was attacked from behind. She was strangled. She was pulled into a ditch,” said Jennifer.
Jennifer said she hoped she could check the bus routes to see if her daughter could walk to a stop but was denied.
“They adamantly refused to release bus routes to the public. They won’t release them to school administrators. I was told that’s none of my business what those routes are,” said Jennifer.
Beaverton School District spokesperson Maureen Wheeler confirmed that the district follows state law when it comes to bussing.
According to state law, elementary-aged students are eligible for transportation if they live a mile or more away from school, while secondary students are eligible if they live further than a mile and a half away.
Beaverton School District Transportation Administrator Jane Langlois said sometimes they make busing rule exceptions if there is no safe area for a student to walk to school due to construction, ditches and other concerns.
“It could be that students are required to cross a street that is either high speed or high volume,” said Langlois.
However, Langlois said she does not believe any such safety hazards exist where Jennifer’s daughter would be walking.
Langlois added that she has been working with Jennifer to possibly find the girl a bus stop that’s around 0.5 miles away, but first they have to make sure the bus isn’t too full before Jennifer’s daughter is approved.
As for the denied access to see existing bus routes, Langlois said there’s three reasons: safety, liability and planning.
“We don’t know, especially if people are given all the bus routes, where those routes may go. We worry about someone having not good intentions with the students,” she said. “The second is safety. If we gave a list to all the parents where the stops are, a parent may choose to pick a stop to allow their child to sleep in five minutes.”
According to Langlois, Jennifer could come in and look over the routes on an individual basis, but said that still wouldn’t guarantee a bus stop for her daughter.
“She could come in and do that, but it would still be us saying whether the stop she selected would be one that we approved for her student to ride,” said Langlois.
Other Beaverton School District parents concerned about their children’s bus situation can file a request here.