Virginia Parents Say Walk to School for Children Without Bus Route is Unsafe

A group of parents in Fairfax County, Virginia, are urging the public school system to add a bus route to their street and say the walk their children have to take is long and sometimes dangerous.

Students living at a development in Lorton have to walk 1.6 miles to get to South County Middle School and South County High School.

Some parents say the route is isolated and unsafe.

"This is very remote. As we go down the path, there are no homes," said parent Jennifer Lopez. "If you scream for help you will not be heard during normal daylight hours since nobody's home."

In June, police reported that a high school student was the victim of an attempted sexual assault on an adjoining section of the path.

Lopez learned her daughter and other middle and high schoolers from the Newington Heights development were not eligible to ride a school bus because their homes are within what Fairfax County Public Schools considers to be "walking distance."

She says when she asked why they could not ride a school bus that passed a few blocks from the development, she was told the bus route was full.

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At Lopez's request, Fairfax County Public Schools transportation officials walked through the path and inspected it.

Their report reads, in part:

"This walk path is an acceptable path free from unusual hazards... Bus service from Koluder Court is not eligible for bus service. You may continue to inquire on the status of your exception to ride request."

Lopez says she chose to drive her daughter to school, but continued to press the issue with the school system. This year, her daughter has been given an exception to ride a bus.

Elizabeth Bradsher, a former member of the Fairfax County School Board, said the issue has existed since the middle and high schools were built 11 years ago.

"Over 111 kids -- they can find that bus. The budget is there. I know it's there. I've been on that school board. I've sat on that board," Bradsher said.

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