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Halifax County School Board makes revisions to new student transportation plan

SoVaNow.com / July 16, 2013
Halifax County School Superintendent Dr. Merle Herndon on Monday announced that clarifications have been made to the newly announced transportation plan for students which will be implemented at the beginning of the new school year in August.

The clarification gives flexibility to the program, requiring that all parents or guardians have a transportation plan on file at their child’s school office. The transportation form which can be pulled off the school’s website under district announcements needs to be completed and brought to the school during the upcoming Open House events held at each school or on the opening day of school.

The form calls for the bus number (or car) to be listed that the student will ride each day of the week — Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday in the mornings and afternoons. A student may ride different buses on different days, but this must be recorded on the transportation form.

In addition to the child’s name, grade and homeroom teacher, the form must designate a password that will be used to identify the caller in case of emergency phone calls or check-outs.

The requirement for a parent or guardian to come to school to change their child’s transportation plan only applies if the change is to cover an extended period of time. In case of emergencies phone calls will be accepted on an individual basis and callers will be required to give their password which they have entered on their child’s transportation plan.

Herndon also stressed that it is the responsibility of the parent or guardian to arrange to have a person of their choice meet the bus or pick up the child at school if no one will be at the listed address on the plan.

“We’re not trying to make life difficult,” Herndon stressed, “but we have to have a plan that addresses the safety of our students.”

The clarified plan was developed Monday after school officials received comments from the public about it. Herndon said she discussed the matter with the principals of the county’s two largest elementary schools — Lisa Long of Cluster Springs and Sue Bagbey of South Boston Elementary as well as with Frosty Owens, administrator of secondary education who introduced the plan at the School Board’s July 8 meeting.

Herndon said Long told her she had received some 5,000 requests in earlier years for changes to her students’ transportation plans.

“We simply cannot continue to take these telephone calls and notes. We have to have a plan in place,” Herndon said.

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Hopefully this will settle everyone down. I love the idea of a password on file. As a former teacher in HCPS, I cannot tell you the number of times I have sprinted down the halls to grab a child off a bus or put one on a bus due to a 3:05 call from a parent with a change in transportation. Parents have to realize just how hectic the end of the day can be. Each teacher with 20+ children with twenty different ways to get home five days of the week is overwhelming. Children with alternating schedules, throw holidays in and a Monday off, mistakes can happen. We are ultimately responsible. Hopefully this new effort will make things safer!!

Comments

Finally, some common sense from these "educated" people!

Why couldn't they have fully thought out this plan earlier, instead of throwing out a half-baked plan that was all but guaranteed to raise the hackles of working parents, who wouldn't have the luxury of leaving work to handle such a matter in person?

Maybe I expect too much :/


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