Letter: Lack of school buses highlights challenges for local students
To the editor,
–I was motivated to write this letter when I read a recent segment in KSBY, “Paso Robles High School parents concerned over lack of bus services“, where a parent was explaining the stress of getting her daughter to school while also looking for an employer who will be flexible to allow for her to leave early or arrive late. No transportation is being offered to families in Paso Robles, and other local districts, while schools are reopening for shortened days.
As a teacher during distance learning, I’ve seen incredible inequalities every day, the “haves” vs the “have nots.” While we used to be able to control access to education from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. each day, students are now facing huge obstacles that are not of their own design.
Families are being asked to send their children back to school in January for half days. Some of our families, who have student drivers, or a flexible work schedule, are able to overcome this challenge and can easily opt-in for the hybrid schedule. Many of our students can’t, so they will be missing out on in-person learning and some elective courses will be removed from their schedule.
We have an amazing community here in Paso. We need more help now than ever before. The COVID-19 pandemic is a problem for us all. Each of us can do a little to help, whether that is checking on a neighbor to see that they are able to get childcare, being a lenient employer who understands that employees have to pick up or drop off children, or private transportation companies who could coordinate with families for rides. I see now that while some of us are easily able to navigate these new challenges, other families are being broken by impossible decisions while raising children in our community. We want families to exist, it is a good thing to see kids growing up in Paso Robles, let’s all help these families out now as they gear up for a major shift in public education come January. This isn’t a permanent crisis, we don’t need permanent solutions, just help for a few months.
I’m not old enough to have lived through WW2, but when I read about communities that came together to plant Victory Gardens, I’m struck with a longing for that same solidarity today.
Americans came together and had our “Finest Hour” during the darkest time of the 20th century. Can we say the same about our country during this time of trial in the 21st century? I encourage you to contact local agencies that are doing great work and offer your services, but I also want to urge you to reach out to your neighborhood. Maybe you could help provide a safe place to do schoolwork while parents finish work shifts. A ride to school in the morning might save a local family. Let’s show the world and our divided country how we can all come together and get through this tough situation.
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