BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The family of a 9-year-old Winbourne Elementary school student is taking on the school board to get the child a ride to school. William Hays attends Winbourne and is forced to walk nearly a mile to go to school. His father Ivory works early in the morning and is unable to take him. His great grandmother cannot.
"Because it's too dangerous they got child molesters live right up the streets where I live and it's too far for William to walk," says William's great grandmother Pleasant Bell."It's too far to walk and I'm not able. I'm 73 years old and I'm sick."
The family has had two meetings with the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board on Monday. Officials are looking into making an exception to the walk rule to allow William to ride. His father however is very concerned.
"My concern about him walking to school is for one he's 9 years old he's a little boy, says Ivory Hays, Jr. "He's smart but by him being so small he's mixed with Mexican and you know how kids are they will pick on little kids and he may run in front of a car he may not know his way home."
They Hays now are waiting on a response from the school board to see if William has to walk or ride.
The East Baton Rouge Parish School System sent the following statement to WAFB:
According to state law, the school district provides free transportation for any student attending public school if he or she resides more than 1 mile from his or her school within the district. In this instance, records indicate the student resides within 6/10ths of a mile from the school in which he is enrolled and therefore is categorized as being in a self-transport zone. Of course, EBR Schools wants to ensure safety among its students as they travel to and from school whenever possible -- especially if the student must cross a major thoroughfare in walking to and from school. This is not the case in this instance, however, since records show the child resides on the same side of the four-lane highway where the school is located and he does not have to cross any major highways in getting to and from school. Of course, district officials will be reviewing this case to ensure the student is definitely in a self-transport zone and the zone does not cross a major highway.