When Florida legislators propose bills to improve the state's hazardous walking conditions statute for students, local school district transportation directors are surveyed regarding the bill's fiscal and logistical implications. In recent years, directors have accurately reported that improving the statute's parameters in the ways that have been proposed would have meant that school districts would... Continue Reading →
Can you imagine your child or your grandchild—or yourself—in either of those two scenarios, looking over your shoulder every 10 seconds to avoid being hit by a car as you walk along the road or finding yourself in an unwinnable and potentially tragic race to cross the road at an intersection while dodging vehicles at a rate of more than one every second?
Some school districts don't transport more students because the hazardous walking conditions statute makes it difficult and costly for them to do so, and the statute doesn't do what it purports to do: identify conditions that are hazardous to students and satisfy the Constitutional and statutory requirement to provide for safe access to public education.
The criteria described in Florida's hazardous walking conditions statute is unrealistic, unreasonable, outdated, and it's discouraging school districts from safeguarding their students against the genuinely dangerous conditions they encounter between their homes and school. The evidence is in the numbers and in the criteria itself.
To a certain extent, the statute has forced Florida school districts to choose between putting funds into the classroom or ensuring that their students arrive at school safely.
It's clear that FDOT is the most qualified entity to develop and adopt standards and criteria regarding hazardous walking conditions that pose barriers to the safe access to public education for minor children.
Florida's hazardous walking conditions statute should do what it purports to do: identify conditions that are hazardous to students and satisfy the Constitutional and statutory requirement to provide for safe access to public education.
When you think about your child walking to school outside of your neighborhood, do you expect that they’ll walk on the street or do you expect that they’ll have a sidewalk or a wide shoulder well-separated from the road to walk on?