A 14-year-old female honor roll student is being forced to choose between her education or her safety as a result of school district budget cuts. The Twin River Unified School District has decided to discontinue its school bus service that picks students up at predetermined locations and takes them to their local high schools. Without the bus service, the young girl must leave home at 6:30 a.m. — usually before sunrise — to walk approximately 2.4 miles to get to school by 7:30 a.m. On several occasions men have stopped while driving their cars to proposition the young girl regarding sexual acts. Some of these men proceeded to follow her for several blocks hurling insults at her because she ignored and rejected their advances.

The girl informed her mother that she is afraid to walk to school because of the numerous sexual offers being made by older men. The girl wants to stay at home and forgo going to school until a solution can be made that ensures she does not have to tolerate the inappropriate behavior and can feel safe going to and from school.
The mother is feeling helpless because she is blind and has great difficulty walking with  her daughter to school. In addition, the family is on a limited income (below the poverty level for a family of three) and cannot afford the $50 monthly city bus pass that would allow the girl to catch the city bus that is a mile away from her house and would drop her off one block from the school.
This week, the high school is closed due to President’s Week break, but session will resume on Monday February 28, 2011. I told the mom that I would assist them in coming up with  solutions to this problem. If you have any suggestions or advice, please provide it in the comment box below.