A Scugog, Ont., mother says she is keeping her daughter at home indefinitely as the Durham public school board and transportation services have rejected her requests to move the location of her daughter’s bus stop.
“They’re not willing to work with us,” Krista Ormsby said of the Durham District School Board (DDSB) and Durham Student Transportation Services (DSTS).
The mother of two first told Global News last year that her daughter Lilyanna’s bus stop is “unsafe.” Ormsby now says her daughter will not go to school until there is a plan to have Lilyanna, who is six, picked up closer to their home.
She says her daughter is expected to wait at the corner of Church Street and Cartwright West Quarter Line, an area where drivers tend to speed. Ormsby said in fear of her daughter getting hit by a car, she had driven her daughter to the stop every day and waited with her in the car for the bus.
Ormsby had first filed a stop-change request with the transportation organization last fall, but it was denied due to an “inadequate turnaround location,” meaning it deemed her street too narrow for the bus to turn around. However, many neighbours of the Ormsby family have told Global News they have seen, or taken, a school bus that has driven down their street.
Lilyanna’s bus stop is about a kilometre from her home, and DSTS says students may be required to walk up to 800 metres to the bus stop, and in circumstances in which buses cannot gain access, students may be required to walk further. But, the DDSB caps the walking distance for students at 600 metres.
“I’m tired and I feel… I want to go back home,” said Lilyanna on how she feels after trekking to the stop.
Ormsby began driving her daughter to school late last year but says this is no longer an option for them — her son has been diagnosed with a mild developmental disability, and his appointments often conflict with Lilyanna’s school hours.
“We had to choose between taking our son to therapy and taking our daughter to school,” she said. “She has been late for school. She has missed several days of school, and now, she’s completely out of school.”
She says another option she wants the board to consider is to make arrangements to have Lilyanna taught at home by one of their teachers.
However, David Mastin of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, says taking Lilyanna out of the classroom is not an effective solution.
The DDSB issued Global News a statement on Friday, saying they won’t comment on this specific case but “families are encouraged to maintain communication and work through accommodation issues through their school administrator.”
Ormsby hopes to meet with a representative from the board next week as she wants to finally resolve the situation.
“My child is being denied an education and no one is taking responsibility for that,” she said. “She’s the one suffering here.”