Independence mom worries about children walking to school, live too close to take the bus

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. - More students went back to school today, some on buses, some in cars and others on their feet.            

The districts can’t give everyone a ride.

Keaton Riggs, 8, and his 5-year-old brother walk to school. Most of the 20 minute walk is on the street.

“It makes me scared. I’m so scared. I worry about them, you know, that somebody’s going to go up and try to talk to them or somebody’s going to take them,” their mother, Mandie Neumann, said.

She escorted them on their first day of school, but with a newborn, she expects there will be days the boys will have to walk alone.

“It makes me feel like a bad parent to begin with, you know, I can't sit there and walk to school with them every single day if it's bad weather because of the newborn," Neumann said.

Fairmount Elementary is just short of a mile away from their home, but Keaton said it gets cold in the winter.  

"Sometimes you get really wet, and I didn’t have snow boots,” Keaton said.

They live near the district's school boundary line. Kids who live on one side get a bus to their school, but kids who live across the street don’t.

The school is less than a mile away, and the district said it doesn’t have to provide the service.

"It's hard, because I just, if I had a car I could do it,” Neumann said. “I wouldn't be throwing a fit.  If I had a car, I would take them myself, but I don’t have that."

A spokesperson for the Independence School District said the district doesn’t have the money to provide a bus for every parent who asks for one.

"Every district has to set a border. For us, it's one mile. There's really no wiggle room. Anything past a mile we absolutely transport,” Nancy Lewis, spokesperson for Independence Schools, said.

Neumann said she understands.

“But even if they could offer an age bracket where they offered busses, where it's safe for a 5-year-old to be able to go to school," she said.

As Neumann drops her kids at school she knows they’ll be safe. It's just the walk home she’s worried about.  

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