State Supreme Court Says It’s A-OK To End Bus Service For All Students
In the state of Indiana, students are guaranteed a free public education. Going forward, though, they’re no longer guaranteed any means of actually getting to the place where that education is supposed to be happening.
Yesterday, according to the Indianapolis Star, the state’s Supreme Court issued a ruling that may see a lot of kids (and parents) bidding goodbye to the beloved yellow school bus. According to the court, while school districts are obligated to provide an education to children under the state constitution, they’re not required to provide a means for kids to get to school in order to access that education.
The austerity measure of cutting bus service for students was adopted in 2011 by the school district of Franklin Township, which has been facing a class-action lawsuit from angry parents ever since. But according to the justices involved in the ruling, the writers of the state constitution “did not intend for every aspect of public education to be free.” So basically, sorry, kids of working and poor parents! Your education will just be going on over here, so good luck learning to hitchhike in order to avail yourself of it. Or maybe those kids are just supposed to teach themselves how to teleport?
Justice Steven David went on to add:
“This court does not dispute that being present at school is necessary to avail oneself of the benefits of the education offered there. However, that does not necessarily lead to the conclusion that the school corporation alone must provide transportation under the Education Clause[.]”
The court went on to wash their hands of the whole business, reminding everyone that it’s the state legislature’s job to pass a law requiring schools to provide a more workable transportation method for students than just hoping that one of them spontaneously invents the Floo Network from Harry Potter.
School districts like Franklin Township are struggling to make ends meet thanks in no small part to the ridiculous way we fund (or fail to fund) schools in this country, but cutting bus service is a monetary savings that comes at a big cost to students from poor and working class families. It’s not clear how many more Indiana schools will eliminate busing to save money, but the current law in Indiana requires them to give three years’ notice to parents in the district (although it’s also possible to avoid that with a Get Out Of Appropriately Warning Families That Shit Is About To Hit The Fan Free card from the state Department of Education). Three years sounds like a long time, but it might not be long enough for a family to completely change their life circumstances to be able to provide an alternate means of transportation to school.
(Image: JerryB7 / Getty)