Hartford Parents Push for Safe School Transportation for Their Kids

Parents in Hartford are concerned that with the closure of one Hartford school their children will be forced to walk a longer and potentially unsafe route to school.

For third-grader Donovan Thomas and many others, it's not easy leaving Milner School in Hartford.

"I feel mad and sad at the same time," said Thomas.

"The closure of this school, it brings tears to my eyes. I tried to fight it as much as I could," said parent Andriena Baldwin.

The school district is in the process of closing Milner and students will need to go to S.A.N.D. on Main Street or Wish School on Barbour Street. That means a longer walk for some.

On Tuesday, concerned Hartford parents and students marched from Milner School to S.A.N.D. to send a message to the school district that their kids need transportation.

Hartford Public Schools said they'll continue to provide transportation per state law, which means buses for K-1 if they live half a mile or more away from the school. For grades 2 through 5, it's 1 mile. For grades 6 through 8, it's 1.5 miles. That means that anyone who lives closer than that will need to find another way to school.

"I just want the [Board of Education] to see how it is as a parent and what we have to look for our kids," said parent Tamara Roberts.

The bigger concern for parents isn't distance, it's safety. Parents participating in the walk say the streets their young children would need to walk are just too dangerous.

"The violence in the neighborhood, the driving has been out of control especially with the kids and the stolen cars driving crazy. It's not safe for the kids," said Roberts.

"People speeding, we have crime in our area, we have people that sell drugs," said parent Latoria Miller.

"People fly through stop signs, and I don't want to risk my life trying to get educated," said Thomas, the third grader.

Baldwin said she'll drive her three kids to school but knows that's not an option for everyone.

"There's a lot of parents that don't have the luxury of having a car or license. And a lot of these kids will have to walk, and it's not safe," said Baldwin.

Parents hope the district will hear their concerns and make a change.

Hartford Public Schools released this statement: "Hartford Public Schools sees our parents as partners in our District Model of Excellence improvement efforts. The Milner School design and transition process will begin in early fall of 2018 (in preparation of their transition the following year). Our support now is around schools that are closing and co-locating for the 2018-2019 school year. All students will continue to be provided transportation per state law (K-1 ½ mile, 2-5 1 mile, 6-8 1.5 Miles)."

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