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NYC Families At Odds With Department Of Education Over Special Needs Busing Policy

FILE - NYC School Bus (credit: CBS 2)

FILE – NYC School Bus (credit: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A number of families of students at P.S. 47 on the Lower East Side are steeped in a battle over busing with the Department Of Education.

Jeanna Johnson told CBS 2’s Dave Carlin that her daughters both attend the same public school but that they have to travel there differently.

Physically challenged Solafide is hearing impaired and is bused to and from P.S. 47. Solafide’s older sister, Kai, is not allowed to ride the bus with her even though there are often a number of empty seats. Kai takes public transit to get to school.

Jeanna said she is concerned that the inconvenient transportation arrangement could affect Solafide’s well-being.

“If she arrives home and we’re not there because we are still in transit who will receive her?” Johnson said.

Johnson told CBS 2 that moving Solafide to another school is not an option because P.S. 47 is the only Manhattan school with the fully integrated American Sign Language that she needs.

The Department of Education released a statement explaining its busing policy: “General education students are eligible to receive busing based on their grade level and the distance they live from their school.”

The Johnsons are not the only family demanding exceptions be made to this policy.

“I’m a deaf parent. I know my daughter is hearing but I don’t feel it’s fair. It’s very hard for me to bring her back and forth every day,” Wendy Regan said through an interpreter.

Parents told CBS 2 that if the Department of Education will not budge on bus rules then they would like to see the advanced sign language learning expanded to other city schools.

How do you think the city should handle this situation? You may leave your thoughts in our comments section below…