A Mesquite woman is concerned about the safety of her two grandsons who will be forced to walk to and from school this year along a route that does not feature a sidewalk after school bus service was canceled for their neighborhood.
The Mesquite Independent School District bus service to Janet Marsh’s home in the Falcon’s Lair subdivision was canceled for the upcoming school year because the district determined the house is within two miles of the children’s school — 1.9 miles according to multiple mapping services — and, therefore, the district is not required to provide bus transportation.
"They said if [the walk] was deemed unsafe they would provide bus service," said Janet Marsh, whose two grandsons attend Dr. John D. Horn High School. "They are saying that it’s safe."
The lack of a sidewalk "does not in itself constitute a safety concern," noted Laura Jobe, Executive Director of Communications for the Mesquite ISD.
Regardless of the distance a student lives from their respective school, the district must provide transportation if the walking route is deemed to be "hazardous," according to Jobe.
"This year, in an effort to ensure fairness and consistency in determining which routes are hazardous, we applied a rubric provided by the Texas Education Agency," Jobe said, describing a scoring system that considers multiple factors in the process of determining the safety of any particular route. "TEA deems any route that receives a score of more than 575 points to be hazardous. The particular route you are referring to for Falcon’s Lair received a score of 304 points, so it does not meet the criteria to be considered hazardous."
Marsh anticipates that her grandsons, who are entering the 11th and ninth grades at Horn High School, will have to walk the estimated 40-minute route to and from school every day because her work schedule makes it unlikely she can drive them on any regular basis.