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OPINION: Kids shouldn’t have to walk across train tracks to get to school

Some Davis County students are having to cross 5 railroad tracks, 6 semi entrances, and 2 freeway ramps just to get to class and that’s when my mothering instinct kicks in.

I still get scared when I read the news and hear about a child whose life is being put into danger, my adrenaline starts going.

That’s exactly what I was going through when I watched Jed Boal’s report on KSL 5 TV last night. Boal reported that about a dozen kids in Woods Cross are crossing train tracks and interstates by foot to get to school.

These kids are walking through some incredibly dangerous hazards and in some case travelling more than two miles to get to school, all because they’re the tiniest bit outside of the busing boundary.

Davis County kids are crossing five train tracks

One of the five train tracks Woods Crossing kids have to cross on their way to school. (Photo: Sean Estes, KSL TV)

One of the five train tracks Woods Crossing kids have to cross on their way to school. (Photo: Sean Estes, KSL TV)

When I say these parents are the “tiniest bit” outside of the boundary, I mean the tiniest bit. One mom, Kelli Tandy, says the bus literally stops at her front door:

The bus stop happens to be at my house but unfortunately, we are not eligible. They say that we live too close to the school and there’s not enough room on the buses.

That’s ridiculous. And the hazards it’s created are brutal.

According to the parents, these kids cross five railroad tracks, six semi entrances, and two freeway ramps just to get to class.

The school district, at least, is doing something about it. District spokesman Chris Williams sat down and talked with us on KSL Newsradio’s Dave & Duajnovic and announced that the families are going to be guaranteed a bus ride to school until the end of June. They will also be reviewing their routes to see if they can be changed for the long-term.

In a way, that’s happy ending. It’s great that the school district did something about it and I applaud the Davis School District for acting so quickly.

But this doesn’t just happen in Davis County. Things like this happen to kids all around the city. Plenty of kids are cut out of bus routes just because their houses are the tiniest bit outside of the jurisdiction, and there’s no reason for it to happen.

Cutting bus routes can lead to tragedies

A school bus in the Davis School District. (Photo: Sean Estes, KSL TV)

A school bus in the Davis School District. (Photo: Sean Estes, KSL TV)

This is one of those things where people say, “Well, when I was a kid, I walked to school, and I survived.” And, sure, I did too. I walked to school and back every day from the first grade on. And sure, I survived.

But not everyone did. During my time in school, two of my friends died in tragic accidents walking to class.

These were two separate events but both went down the same way. They were just kids, making their way to class on foot, when cars crashed into them and cut their lives short while they were still learning arithmetic.

Walking to school isn’t a relic of the good ol’ days. It got kids killed. It forced mothers to deal with a knock on the door telling them that the little boy or girl they just sent off to school will never be coming back home.

I understand that schools have to set boundaries but maybe it’s time we started valuing common sense over a measuring tape.

Maybe if a kid has to cross five train tracks to get to school, it’s worth giving your bus routes and second look. And maybe if a bus stops on a child’s front lawn, we should just let him get on.

It could save a child’s life. And that’s a lot more important than preserving some red tape.

More to the story

You can hear our full conversation with Chris Wallace on the Dave & Dujanovic podcast.

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon on KSL Newsradio. Users can find the show on the KSL Newsradio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.

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