North Providence Bus Policy Doesn't Sit Well with All Parents - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

North Providence Bus Policy Doesn't Sit Well with All Parents

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Nicole Gerber


NORTH PROVIDENCE - School officials in North Providence are fed up that parents are ignoring a policy about picking up their child at the school bus stop.  So now the school is taking drastic action.

It's become a constant problem with certain families and if it keeps happening, their child will get suspended from the bus.

Some parents say they understand the intent of the new rule.... but that it doesn't work for all families.

"Safety first... for all kids, but... for little kids," said Filippa Sermos, who has two kids who ride the bus in North Providence. "You know, for 4th and 5th graders, and if they're near the bus stop... then why not, why can't they  just go to their home?" she asked.

Sermos, who lives less than a block away from her kids' stop, is just one of several parents upset over the North Providence School District's new transportation policy.

Someone must meet elementary school students at the bus stop, or they won't be let off. Now repeat offenders could have their bus service suspended.

"My son's in 5th grade, we live about 5 houses down from the bus stop," said one North Providence parent, who chose to remain anonymous. "If I'm not home my step father's home, he's not well enough to walk up to the top of the street, but he will sit outside when the busses pass... but they keep going."

Superintendent Melinda Smith told ABC6 news that if an adult is absent from the bus stop, the driver will revisit that stop again at the end of the route and then return the child to school. There, the principal will try and contact the family. If they're nowhere to be found, the police will be called.

She hopes the new policy will help avoid those situations, while keeping kids safer.

"I feel this rule could be a good rule, but it's not a one size fits all," said Michael Grossi, who has two kids in the North Providence school system. "That's where I'm completely against it because we have working families here in North Providence, and to enforce this rule, a lot of parents... It could cause hardships at their jobs."

"4th and 5th, these kids are old enough to walk home by themselves, especially if it's 3 houses down... so they're just making it a lot harder for these parents who are working," said Sermos

Those parents we spoke to said they want the school board to work with families individually to create rules that work for everyone.

Superintendent Smith said that she currently has three or four families that are chronically absent when picking up their children.

If it continues, she says they'll face suspension from the bus service, anywhere from a couple days to a full week.

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