Oklahoma mom fed up over daughter’s walk from school and lack of help from district officials

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OKLAHOMA CITY – “They poked the wrong mamma bear, I won`t stop until I get a resolution,” said concerned parent Teri Dowling.

“I`ve been working on this since the week before school started,” she said.

The single mom’s 12-year-old daughter attends Hefner Middle School.

Although she can drop her daughter off in the morning, Teri is unable to pick her up after school due to her job.

This means her daughter has to walk close to a mile just to get home.

Dowling’s main frustration is there’s a bus stop two blocks from where they live.

“I wasn`t trying to get them to add another stop or change the way they do transportation, just to allow us as a courtesy rider on the bus,” she said.

She said some of her older children, had been courtesy riders before.

She also said this is her daughter’s first year at a new school.

“Every day she’s taking the same route home and the thought of something happening to her on the way home from school, I can’t do my job and be at work worried about is she getting home safely.”

When Teri tried reaching out to Putnam City Schools and the transportation director for help, she says she hit a dead end.

“The day after I talked to him he told me NO! we won`t do that, and I watched a child almost get hit by a car and they had a walk sign.”

She worries about her daughter’s safety crossing an intersection at Macarthur with busy traffic every afternoon.

News 4 reached out to Putnam City Schools.

They referred us to their policy:

“For elementary and middle school, state funding is for students who live one and a half (1.5) miles and beyond from the school. Putnam City provides transportation to students one mile and beyond, therefore providing beyond what is funded by the state.”

Every school day there is a crossing guard in the crosswalk on MacArthur in the mornings and afternoons to help students cross safely.

Putnam City Schools: District Policy BF reads:
Oklahoma law does not require district-provided transportation to all students. However, Putnam City School District provides some transportation services if students meet service criteria to include, yet not limited to the following:
• Transportation privileges may be provided to all elementary students K-5 and middle school students if they live one (1.0) mile or more by commonly traveled road, or combination of roads, streets, highways and paths accessible to the public, where students are assigned by attendance zone to attend school.”

Dowling says, just the following policy is not enough.

“Sometimes I feel like they get caught up in policy and they take humanity out of it and forget about the kids and what`s good for them,” she said, “I’ll do what I need to do to get her home safely.”

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