As the school bus pulled away, virtually empty, not only were parents angry, they were protesting.
City Councilmember Dan Halloran and several elected leaders from northeast Queens joined parents from J.H.S. 194 in College Point on Friday, November 4 at a rally protesting the elimination of the school’s buses.
“The Department of Education [DOE] must provide transportation to ensure that students travel safely to and from school,” said Councilmember Peter Koo. “It is unacceptable for the DOE to make budget cuts or reductions to services that adversely impact the well-being of tomorrow’s leaders. The safe transport of students is the responsibility of the DOE and they should immediately resume yellow bus service. During these difficult and challenging times, parents have enough to worry about and we should not further burden them with the concern for their children’s safety when traveling to and from school.”
Organized by J.H.S. 194 parents, the rally was held at the school bus stop for 6th grade students at the intersection of 6th Avenue and College Point Boulevard.
But rather than permit 7th and 8th grade students to ride the desolate bus, the DOE has said they must wait at an MTA bus stop down the block for the two-bus, 90-minute trip to school.
Parents at 194 were informed one day before school started in September that 7th and 8th grade students would not be eligible for school bus service this year as they had been in the past, as a cost-cutting measure by the mayor.
“College Point is one of the most underserved communities in New York City,” said Halloran. “It is shameful that 11-year-old children from this community have to take a dangerous, complicated two-hour commute twice a day just to get to school and back. It’s unsafe and unreasonable, and they deserve better. Every time an empty school bus drives by this bus stop, it represents a waste of the taxpayers’ money and a slap in the face of College Point.”