Knox County parent says rule caused her kids to miss school

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Knox County kids headed back to school Monday. For some, it meant possibly walking on a dangerous road to class. A rule set by the Knox County school system says if you live less than a mile from an elementary school, there will be no bus.

Trisha Bailey lives a half mile away from Carter Elementary School and with no car, she’s left to walk her two children to class.

“Not safe at all. Not even little bit,” said Bailey.

Some of the walk is on Strawberry Plains Pike. It’s a road she finds too dangerous for her and her two boys to go on.

“I don’t want to put my kids at risk to be hit by a vehicle and that could easily happen,” she said.

Trisha Bailey

She recently moved to the area. She said she never thought taking her kids to school would be a problem.

“The safety of their children is not their main priority right now,” Bailey said.

Bailey also has a 16-month-old. She said she would have to have taken him in a stroller if she walked her other two boys to school. She said there is no room for a stroller on that road.

She would have to walk on a portion of the road where the speed limit is 45 miles per hour before she gets inside a school zone. She would also have to cross the street with her three kids because there are ditches and big bushes on both sides.

“Stressed out. I have no clue what to do,” said Bailey.

Her kids ended up missing the first day of school because she says the school told her a bus could not bring them home. She feels there are no other options but to walk. She said she might have to do that until she finds another option.

“I don’t want to go to jail for truancy and I was told truancy would be an issue if I don’t get my kids to school,” she said

Bailey reached out to the school system and the transportation department. She said she was asked to fill out a form with the bus company to request a stop for her children. She was told that was not always a guarantee. However, she did submit a form.

WATE 6 On Your Side left a message with the transportation office later in the afternoon on Monday, but has not yet heard back. Bailey would like sidewalks to be added or the policy changed.

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