Maryland school district sends bus to pick up staff but not students

Baltimore County Schools Director of Transportation David McCrae speaks to parents as bus carrying staff drives though background / Photo: WBFF

BALTIMORE COUNTY, M.d. (WBFF) - A fight over a short distance is heating up in a Baltimore County neighborhood in Maryland. Parents say the county schools expects their young children to walk about a mile to school, even as a bus is sent to pick up school staff faced with walking the same distance.

This all started in October when Project Baltimore reported from Monocacy Road in Essex. Parents say Baltimore County Public Schools used to provide a school bus to drive their children to Middleborough Elementary. But the County took the bus away, saying they lived less than a mile from the school, which is the cutoff. Children as young as 4 years old are now expected to walk.

“It’s not safe and it’s not right,” Theresa Charney told us in October. Charney is the mother of one of those students.

“We get up everyday, we go to work, we pay our taxes, we do what we are supposed to do,” she said. “I think the County should do what they are supposed to do.”

In October, WBFF measured the route and found the school is 5,497 feet from houses in the neighborhood. That’s 217 feet further than a mile.

After our initial story, County Schools seemed to take this seriously. Earlier this month, County Schools walked with parents to measure the distance. Our cameras were there as the wheel rolled. But from the start, there was a lot of confusion about where to turn, where to walk and where to stop.

While the parents and the school system argued over the route and details, a full-sized school bus pulled up. We asked County Schools Director of Transportation David McCrae why it was there.

“To take the staff back, so they can get back to their vehicles,” he told us.

When asked why Baltimore County Schools sends a bus to pick up staff but not students, McCrae answered, “They have other duties to go to.”

Our reporter ran after the bus. When we walked up the steps, we saw a full-sized bus apparently sent for just two people. Charney was at a loss for words after watching the situation unfold.

“It’s OK for my kid, for my child, to walk that far. But it’s not OK for them? And you’re grown adults,” she stated. “I’m not done. I’m a parent and I’m going to do what I have to do get what I need for my kid to be safe.”

It’s unclear whether Baltimore County Public Schools routinely sends buses to pick up staff, or if this was a one-time occurrence. The County did agree to adjust the route, come back and measure again. When they do, we will be there.

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