BALTIMORE COUNTY, Md. (WBFF) - A neighborhood in Baltimore County is battling its own school system saying four-year-olds are being forced to walk to school over a technicality. This fight is over just a few feet that add up to a lot of worry.
One mile is 5,280 feet. It’s a relatively short distance. But to Theresa Charney it presents a big problem.
“It’s not safe and it’s not right,” stated Charney. “Disappointed would probably be an understatement.”
One mile is roughly the distance between her home in Essex, and her son’s Pre-K at Middleborough Elementary. But in that mile a lot could go wrong.
“If they can’t stay home alone until they are eight, they shouldn’t be able to walk alone until they are eight,” explained Charney.
Baltimore County Public Schools considers her four-year-old son a walker - along with every other child on his street. The families in this neighborhood are outraged.
“All it takes is someone to get a phone call and look down,” added Robert Valerie, who has two kids at Middleborough Elementary who are also walkers.
This neighborhood is on the far side of Monocacy Road. A bus used to take this route. But four years ago, the school system took it away. Now, this street is full of elementary school students, four and five-years-olds, who are supposed to walk to class.
“I don’t think that that’s safe. I don’t think that’s right,” explained Valerie.
So instead, these parents, every day, make arrangements for their children to get to and from school.
Explained Charney, “Today, I had to call five people to pick my kid up from school because I got held over at work.”
Elementary students who live more than a mile from school, get a bus. The county took away this neighborhood’s saying their houses are closer than a mile. The families disagree. So Fox45 measured it starting at the daycare where many of the kids go before school.
The first part of the walk, has no sidewalks. The kids have to cross Middleborough Road to get to one. But there’s no crossing guard, no traffic light and no cross walk to help them. The sidewalk itself is right off the busy road with few curbs. A left on Annetta Road leads to a short cut behind the school. Cut across some grass, make a left, and you’re at the front door of the Middleborough Elementary.
We measured 5,497 feet. 217 feet further than a mile.
Baltimore County Public Schools declined an interview with Fox45 to discuss our findings. They didn’t even send us a statement. What we got was a link to the county’s transportation procedures.
“It’s real frustrating,” replied Valerie, because he gets a similar response when he contacts county schools. So the families have filed an appeal with the Office of Transportation. They want their bus back.
“We get up everyday, we go to work, we pay our taxes, we do what we are supposed to do. I think the county should do what they are supposed to do,” concluded Charney.