Bus route changes in Aldine concern parents

By Samantha Ptashkin - Reporter

HOUSTON - A parent in the Aldine Independent School District is concerned about her kids heading back to school because she says their walking route is not safe.
Jenelle Frelow has two children attending Francis Elementary this year and she says because of the state's 2-milerule her son and daughter will be forced to take an unsafe walking route to school.

The state approved rule states that a district does not have to provide bus services to students who live within two miles of their school.

"If the school was located in a more residential area it wouldn't be a problem," Frelow said. "But this obviously isn't a residential neighborhood."

Frelow lives about a mile away from Francis Elementary, but says that mile walk is filled with danger. The sidewalk the kids have to walk on is right up against Aldine Bender Road, which has five lanes of traffic. The kids also have to pass a gas station and a busy shopping center before turning on Lee Road, where Francis Elementary is located. Even worse, once the kids make that turn on Lee Road, the sidewalk ends at the Metro bus stop.

"It's unacceptable, it's uncalled for," Frelow said.
District spokesperson Mike Keeney sent Local 2 a statement which reads:

"Aldine, like most Houston-area school districts, provides school bus service to students living more than two miles from their campus. Exceptions to this rule are made when district officials determine that no safe walking route exists for students who live within two miles of their school. Those exceptions remain in place until the walking safety concerns have been addressed."
Frelow says she has tried contacting the district, but hasn't heard back. In the meantime, she says she won't feel at ease unless bus service is restored.

"My fear is a child gets hit, gets snatched, or another child accidentally pushes a child in the street," Frelow said.

She says she or her husband will take the kids to school the first few days, but that isn't a long term solution, since they both have to be at work before the school day even starts.

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