Parents lose lawsuit over making kids walk to bus stop
FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — An administrative law judge ruled against a New Jersey couple who argued it was unsafe to make their children walk less than a mile to a bus stop.
The parents, identified only by initials in court papers to shield the identities of their children, claimed the bus should pick up their children, ages 9 and 12, at the end of their driveway in Franklin Township like it had previously done.
The Courier News of Bridgewater reported a new bus driver assigned to the route refused to drive down the road because the bus exceeded the weight limit for a bridge. The school district also has a policy that prohibits drivers from using a private driveway to turn around.
The parents said the road the children would have to walk on was narrow and had a shoulder that was unusable in winter weather.
The parents had twice challenged the school district’s decision to change the bus stop — prompting an appeal to the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law.
Administrative Law Judge Joseph Ascione ruled that requiring the bus to go to the house was risky, agreeing with the original ruling of the school board. He also found the road had “no obvious safety concerns” and characterized the road as relatively flat and “unremarkable in character.”
Ascione also rejected the parents’ claim they were victims of discrimination because they could not show that other families in similar circumstances had been treated differently.
The state Department of Education agreed with the judge’s ruling.
Information from: Courier News (Bridgewater, N.J.) , http://www.mycentraljersey.com