Innisfil family relieved school transportation for special needs child is reinstated
The family of an Innisfil boy living with special needs, whose school transportation was taken away earlier this year by the school board, says he's getting his ride back.
On Monday, Brendan Drodge told CTV News his 11-year-old boy Wyatt will continue riding in his school van until at least the end of the school year.
According to Drodge, the decision was made last week following a controversial Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB) decision to review and remove transportation for students with special needs who live within the board's designated walking distance from schools.
The walking zone is 1.6 kilometres for elementary school students and 3.2 for high schoolers.
- Barrie family wins 4-month battle for son's school bus service to be reinstated
- Parents of students with special needs upset over SCDSB bus changes
Drodge said the school board had granted Wyatt an additional six weeks of transportation before it was taken away, pending an appeal.
The board says the initial decision was part of an annual review of transportation for students within walking zones of schools to promote student independence in the community.
Drodge and several other local families were shocked to hear the news around Christmas their children were no longer eligible for school van transportation.
"It's going to mean that he can't go to school," Drodge said in an interview with CTV News in February, explaining his son was unable to board a school bus packed with children and instead required a van.
"Frankly, the disruption he's had already is unacceptable," said Drodge.
The school board insisted the decision to review school transportation did not target students with special needs, as many parents had claimed, and while the board has a $2 million transportation deficit, chairperson Jodi Lloyd said the decision was not based on money.
"If we have special education students who require specialized transportation, most certainly we provide that for those students," said Lloyd in a February interview.
"Our goal and objective for all of our students, and especially our special education students are to create independence and self-sufficiency so that when they leave the board, they can operate and be self-sufficient within their community," she said.
Drodge said an offer by the board to extend van transportation for six weeks was scheduled to end soon, but he's not been promised transportation for Wyatt will continue until the end of June.
"Decisions like this that impact the children and their family so much, at the very least, should have parental input," argued Drodge.
HEALTH ALERT | Wildfire smoke intensifies over Simcoe County
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