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Lack of bus to Richmond County alternative school costs parents

Saturday, March 9, 2013 4:46 PM
Last updated Sunday, March 10, 2013 1:34 AM
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Lonnie Padgett pays $400 a month in gas for his son’s lapse in judgment.

Clarence Daniels has to get a ride from a neighbor to get to Richmond County's alternative school, so he goes there only three days a week. His unemployed mother, Gailer Baity, says it's hard to find gas money.  EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
Clarence Daniels has to get a ride from a neighbor to get to Richmond County's alternative school, so he goes there only three days a week. His unemployed mother, Gailer Baity, says it's hard to find gas money.

When a student started taunting and hitting Dillon Padgett on the school bus last fall, the 14-year-old pulled a protractor from his backpack and threatened to stab the bully.

The threat was enough to take Dillon out of Pine Hill Middle School and into the Tub­man Education Center Alternative Program – a good 20 miles from his McBean home – for the rest of the school year.

Because the Richmond County school system does not provide transportation for students assigned to the alternative program, families have to become creative to get their children to the Walton Way campus.

Tubman Principal Wayne Frazier said transportation issues keep many students from attending at all and put an added strain on families who need the most help.

“I have students who are not coming to school because of transportation problems,” Frazier said. “In order for us to be effective to get these children academically and behaviorally to the next level, out in the streets is not the place to help them. If they’re not in the building and they’re not here, we can not give them what they need to be successful.”

Clarence Daniels, 17, of Hephzibah, can only make it to Tubman on Mondays, Wednes­­days and Fridays, when he hitches a ride with a neighbor who works at the nearby University Hospital.

Having been unemployed and looking for work for more than a year, Daniels’ mother, Gailer Baity, said it’s difficult to come up with gas to drive the 60 total miles it would take to drop Clarence off every morning, drive back to Hephzibah and pick him up in the afternoons.

“My son did something and he got in trouble for it, so there should be consequences,” Baity said. “But I would like to see them have transportation for students who try to take advantage of a second chance.”

Carol Rountree, the school system’s director of student services, said the lack of transportation at Tub­man is not so much a financial or logistical issue but has more to do more with the code of conduct rules. Transportation is a privilege for students in the school system, but if they violate the code of conduct, that privilege is lost.

“The alternative school is a second chance for (students) to continue their education at a different setting,” Rountree said. “It is true that the students have lost rights when they were suspended and one of those rights is … transportation to school.”

Frazier said transportation creates problems for about 80 percent of the roughly 150 students who attend Tubman. Students come from all areas of the district and
enter the program at various points in the school year.

Though transportation has never been offered in the alternative program, Richmond County Board of Education member Barbara Pulliam said the district should create a bus route for the alternative program with a handful of stops across the district. Because the small population of Tubman students is spread across the county, there could be one stop for the south side, one for Hephzibah and one for west Augusta, she said.

“We’re an educational institution, not a penal institution,” Pulliam said. “These kids don’t have a job, they don’t have a car, so you’re saying if they can’t get there they don’t get their education. That’s wrong.”

She said she requested the issue be added to the board’s
committee meetings Tuesday.
The lack of school-provided transportation has forced Tyrone Jenkins to change jobs in order to get his daughter to Tubman from their home on the south side.

He said he quit his morning job with FPL foods for a night job with Sizemore Jani­tor­ial Services to be available to drive his daughter to school and pick her up in the afternoons.

“It’s been tough for me, but it’s what I have to do,” Jenkins said.

Padgett is also making adjustments. When he gets home at 7:30 a.m. from his night shift at Kimberly Clark, he stays awake to take his son 20 miles to Tubman.

By the time he gets home, he fits in about four hours of sleep before driving another 40-mile round trip to pick his son up about 2 p.m.

“It’s wearing me out,” Padgett said. “It’s getting to the point where I can’t afford it anymore … My son made a mistake. How long are they going to make me suffer?”

Comments (36) Add comment
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seenitB4
93216
Points
seenitB4 03/09/13 - 06:35 pm
8
1
The price of an education

Actually I think parents would appreciate the school system MORE if all had to pay for bus transportation....& lunches..& after school studies..

Swatbad
448
Points
Swatbad 03/09/13 - 07:00 pm
4
8
Grove....What an *Donkey* of a sentiment.

Someone will have to deal with these children eventually. I just hope its not from the business end of a firearm. The best you can muster up is SUCK IT UP??? I really don't feel like going into a diatribe on why your statement is so asinine, but society is is falling into the pits from both ends...the liberal and the conservative. I pray that your child never disappoints you and you have to question where YOU went wrong.
I think Ms. Pulliams idea is one worth considering.

Little Lamb
47842
Points
Little Lamb 03/09/13 - 07:26 pm
6
2
TSPLOST

When the TSPLOST money starts rolling in, Augusta government is planning on expanding city bus service. Perhaps some Tubman students can lobby for city bus routes near their homes.

scoobynews
3896
Points
scoobynews 03/09/13 - 07:26 pm
8
4
If parents had been doing

If parents had been doing their job at home then this would not be an issue. I never screwed up and got kicked out so don't give me this bleeding heart crap. If we didn't live in such an entitlement world like we do now they may have put more thought into their actions like we use to.

yeahisaidit
33
Points
yeahisaidit 03/09/13 - 07:51 pm
12
2
And I'm supposed to feel sorry for them.....

I don't feel that transportation needs to be given to those who cannot stay in a regular education setting which provides everything they need!!! Things need to be more difficult for them because they need to be punished for not being able to stay out of trouble! Lack of parental support is probably the main reason these kids get in trouble in the first place. When parents are held accountable, maybe, just maybe, things will get better in our schools!!!! I have to have students suspended pending parent conference because I cannot get in touch with parents and they sure won't come to the school when their child is misbehaving!! That is sad! Teachers aren't the problem....one day these legislators will WAKE up and realize we can't fix what begins at HOME!!

Pops
12038
Points
Pops 03/09/13 - 08:16 pm
11
2
This sums up the mentality

"My son made a mistake. How long are THEY going to make me suffer?”.

powercenter64
15
Points
powercenter64 03/09/13 - 08:45 pm
11
2
Ms. Pulliam is the problem with government.

Ms. Pulliam, you have to realize that EDUCATION is a privilege. I do not want these students riding the bus with my children. The problem with this system is parents, and people like you, enabling these troublemakers. Do you ever wonder why so many middle school students are bypassing public schools? A line in the sand needs to be be drawn in this county, and it starts with the policy makers. Teachers are tired of being on the frontline and receiving no support from people who want to give these kids one, two, and three chances. I would really like the Chronicle to do a story on the tribunal process, and difficulty that it takes to get students out of the classroom. One more comment before I get off of my soap box, Dr. Frazier, if students do not come to school then do your duty, abide by the code of conduct, and send these students and parents through the court system.

oldredneckman96
5115
Points
oldredneckman96 03/09/13 - 08:49 pm
7
2
Alt School
Unpublished

To save time and money, lets just ship these young criminals off to jail and skip the heart ache of there future crimes. You have to seperate the chaff from the wheat to survive.

yeahisaidit
33
Points
yeahisaidit 03/09/13 - 09:43 pm
10
1
Alternative school

That is what's wrong with society now....we give the kids everything. They are not made to work for anything!!!! We give them free transportation, free meals, etc., and they never learn to work for anything or to face the consequences of their actions. When will they ever learn a lesson if they aren't made to suffer the consequences of anything!

ironpurps
212
Points
ironpurps 03/09/13 - 09:59 pm
2
8
I Agree

I agree with Mrs. Pulliam - what would it hurt to give students who made a mistake transportation to Tubman. If them mess that up, THEN they are dependent on their parents.

aubaug
62
Points
aubaug 03/09/13 - 10:07 pm
7
0
Oh well!

Students are not assigned to Alternative School unless they are habitual offenders or if their offense is very, very, serious: Weapon at school, cocaine in bookbag, punching a teacher, etc.

Parents who provide discipline and structure at home USUALLY don't encounter these problems with their child at school. Most effective parents see warning signs of deviant behavior and deal with it before it escalates. These parents seek counseling for their children, tighten the reins, provide more positive activities and experiences for their child, supervise their social life, and incorporate a spiritual belief within the family.

If parents aren't willing to pay up front, they will pay throughout their lives in the end; their child will be ruined. And if they think providing transportation to an alternative school is a hardship, this is just the beginning of a very long road for them. Parents who are unable or unwilling to provide this transportation most likely provided little else for their child as they were growing up. It might be time for this student to be sent to a RESIDENTIAL alternative school to serve their time, receive counseling, and education, in a highly structured atmosphere. We need to save these students----we need to save our schools.

Darby
28237
Points
Darby 03/09/13 - 10:21 pm
6
2
"I just hope its not from the business end...

of a firearm."

.
Let me get this straight.. We should coddle our school aged miscreants because if we don't they might shoot us later on down the road. Is that what you are saying?

Having said that, I don't think even these brats should be sent to a school without transportation being provided. With all the tax money we pour into the school system, school boards should be able to come up with the money for a shuttle. Or the PTA might consider recruiting volunteers to help out.

There is always a way. Grandma was right when she said that necessity is the mother of invention.

Little Lamb
47842
Points
Little Lamb 03/09/13 - 11:41 pm
8
1
Ay, Yah, Yahy, Yah, Yahy

IronPurps posted:

What would it hurt to give students who made a mistake transportation to Tubman?

Because some of those "mistakes" were attacks on other students on their taxpayer-funded "transportation."

Dixieman
16421
Points
Dixieman 03/10/13 - 03:07 am
7
3
GIVE ME THEIR POINTS!! UM, I WILL HELP THESE POOR CHILDREN?

I drive my kid to and from school every day. Because I love her and want to These folks have to because they failed to properly discipline their kids. Suck it up, whiners!
And my hated TSPLOST taxes are going to fund buses for these miscreants? Just one more reason to hate it!!

scoobynews
3896
Points
scoobynews 03/10/13 - 05:51 am
8
1
Yeahisaidit

We have been told by administration that if the students don't have pencil and paper then we need to provide it? Only problem is no one gave me a case of pencils or paper so I am assuming they expect me to spend my own money for it. Yep entitlement is alive and well in public schools.

CobaltGeorge
169645
Points
CobaltGeorge 03/10/13 - 07:32 am
8
2
Darby

I have given you the first downer and I never classified you as a bleeding heart individual.

Transportation for those (whatever's) is a "HELL NO"

avidreader
3430
Points
avidreader 03/10/13 - 07:41 am
8
1
Gradebook vs. Gradebook!

Busses from the far-away communities are already running close to Tubman. The magnet school kids ride them. The IB kids at ARC have a bus route, and Tubman is only a block away from ARC. Are the Tubman kids banned from this transportation? I do not know the answer to this question.

In addition: When I get a student in January, having been enrolled at Tubman for first semester, rarely does the B/C on the report card equate to a B/C in my class. Both of my Tubman transfers for this semester already have 8+ absences since January 3rd. And neither are even close to the B/C range. They are both respectful, decent kids, but have no focus and are lacking in basic skills. This is usually the norm, not the exception.

And yes, I understand, it is my job to get them up to speed and make sure they pass the End Of Course Test. It's a tough job!

JRC2024
9882
Points
JRC2024 03/10/13 - 09:58 am
6
1
Avid, those students are to

Avid, those students are to be our future ditch diggers, yard people, roofers, painters and the like. We need them.

Rob Pavey
552
Points
Rob Pavey 03/10/13 - 10:29 am
10
1
everybody wants a free ride these days........

Are disruptive delinquents sentenced to alternative school entitled to a taxpayer funded free ride to get there? I don't think "lack of bus service" is what's costing these parents. Rather, it's bad decisions their children make as students who squander their opportunity for education.

JRC2024
9882
Points
JRC2024 03/10/13 - 11:26 am
6
0
Amen, Cobalt. I do not want

Amen, Cobalt. I do not want my property taxes to go up because of any of these misfits. They are already enough and I bet if you were to see how many of the parents paid property taxes it would not be many. I can remember setting off a firecracker at Langford Jr. High in the 8th grade and got 60 hours of detention after school. I walked home which was several miles away. My parents made me walk every day and I then got detention at home plus my butt whipped. That was when we had neighborhood schools before all this busing here and busing there which did nothing but cause hardship.

Mrs. Daniels needs to MAKE HER SON work at cleaning yards or whatever he can do to earn money for gas. No free ride for him. And do it at whatever pay someone is willing to pay him which should be min. wage so he sees what it is like to be at the bottom level of pay which is where he is headed.

singleparent37
2
Points
singleparent37 03/10/13 - 11:20 am
0
2
ARE YOU ALL KIDDING ME......

I'M A SINGLE MOTHER OF SIX KIDS ALL KIDS ARE INDIVIDUAL AND IT IS AMAZING HOW SO MANY PEOPLE HAVE NEGATIVE THINGS TO SAY ABOUT THE PARENTS,THE HOME LIFE AND HOW THE PARENTS RAISE THE CHILD.THE CHILDREN THAT ARE IN TROUBLE ARE OLD ENOUGH TO MAKE POSITIVE CHOICES THE PARENTS CANT BE THERE EVERY STEP OF THE WAY.I HAVE A TROUBLED DAUGHTER THAT HAS BEEN IN AND OUT OF TROUBLE SINCE SHE WAS IN PRE-K SHE IS 15 NOW.I'VE TAKEN HER TO GET HELP EVEN HAD HER PLACED ON MEDICATIONS FOR MOOD DISORDER AND IN RESIDENTIAL HOUSING TO HELP WITH HER ISSUES.I'VE NEVER BEEN ON DRUGS ALWAYS HAD A PROFESSIONAL JOB AND HAVE GIVEN MY DAUGHTER ALL THE SUPPORT AND LOVE I COULD AND I STILL FACE EVERY DAY ISSUES IN HER LIFE AS MY OWN BECAUSE THAT IS MY DAUGHTER AND I LOVE HER AND WANT HER MENTAL ISSUES TO BE CONTROLLED SO THAT SHE CAN BECOME A PRODUCTIVE ADULT.THEN WHEN I GET CALLS FROM RUDE DISRESPECTFUL TEACHERS, ASSISTANT PRICIPALS AND PRINCIPALS.THESE SAME PEOPLE DONT HAVE RESPECT FOR ME WHEN THEY ARE THE SAME PEOPLE BEGGING ME FOR MY DAUGHTER TO GIVE THEM RESPECT BUT THEY DONT HAVE RESPECT FOR ME.I'VE HAD TEACHERS CALL HER OUT OF HER NAME,I'VE HAD A PRINCIPAL SAY TO ME A TAX PAYER I'M GOING TO GET HER OUT MY SCHOOL...WOW AND THEY ALWAYS TRY TO SEND THESE TROUBLED KIDS TO TRIBUNIAL THEY ARE NOT APART OF THE SOLUTION THEY ARE A LARGE PART OF THE PROBLEM.THE SAEFETY OFFICERS ARENT NO BETTER I KNOW ONE RIGHT NOW GET JOY OUT OF GETTING THESE KIDS OUT OF SCHOOL INTO ALTERNATIVE SCHOOL.I WATCHED HOW LET DOWN HE WAS NOT TO BE ABLE TO TESTIFY ABOUT THE STUDENT.THAT HURTS TO KNOW THAT THE SAME PEOPLE WHO ARE TO HELP YOUR CHILD GET AN EDUCATION IS SO EAGER TO SEE THESE KIDS WITHOUT AN EDUCATION.I KEEP TELLING MY DAUGHTER WHEN YOU ARE AT SCHOOL DONT LET THE GROWN UPS DESTROY WHO YOU ARE AND TRYING TO BE A BETTER YOU.YOU HAVE TO IGNORE THE NEGATIVE COMMENTS NOT GET ANGRY AND WALK AWAY BE THE BIGGER PERSON.THEY KNOW SHE HAS A TEMPER AND WHEN THEY MAKE NEGATIVE COMMENTS ABOUT HER WEIGHT,HOW SHE LOOKS OR CALL HER A BIG [filtered word] BULLY BUT WHO IS BEING BULLIED...I'M SCARED FOR THESE YOUNG KIDS WHO HAVE TO DEAL WITH THIS TYPE OF NEGATIVE BEHAVIOR FROM THE EDUCATORS BUT WHY ARENT THEY ON TRIAL WHY ARENT THEY WROTE UP WHY NEVER NOTHING IS DONE TO THEM YOU CAN CALL MR.SPIVEY TO YOU ARE BLUE IN THE FACE AND THE PRINCIPALS AND TEARCHER TREAT THESE KIDS THE SAME WAY.I DONT UNDERSTAND IT.THEY PUT THE PARENTS ON BLAST ABOUT WHAT STARTS AT HOME BUT WHAT DO THE TEACHERS AND PRINCIPALS DO? ARE THEY SCULPTING OUR YOUNG KIDS OR ARE THEY JUST DRAGGING THEM DOWN...ONCE THESE KIDS GO TO ALTERNATIVE SCHOOL THEY ARE LABELED AND ITS IMPOSSIBLE TO GET THEM ON THE RIGHT TRACK.THEY DONT GIVE THESE KIDS A FAIR CHANCE BECAUSE THEY ARE THE TRAIL AND THE JURY THEY WILL ALWAYS BE GUILTY..I'VE SEEN MR.FRASIER DO A GREAT JOB AT TURNING A SCHOOL AROUND HE IS FAIR AND NO MATTER WHAT KIND OF DAY HE'S HAVING HE HAS ALWAYS HAD RESPECT .

Shortcomment
1163
Points
Shortcomment 03/10/13 - 12:32 pm
5
1
No sympathy here, nor any

No sympathy here, nor any rush to provide another handout, all because the parents failed to teach their kids what it proper behavior.

Besides, in a few years we the public will be the complainers, as many graduate from Delinquent to Criminals and/or Taxpayer Moochers.

Shortcomment
1163
Points
Shortcomment 03/10/13 - 12:43 pm
3
1
LL - on expanding bus lines to cover the Alternative school

1. I would expect the routes would have to have a RC Deputy on board acting as bus patrols. Because too many of these Brats are Jr. Gang Bangers, or want-a-be thugs.

2. They would then whine that they cannot climb the bus stairs because of their saggy pants and then file a discrimination lawsuit.

KSL
139194
Points
KSL 03/10/13 - 01:02 pm
5
2
Re the pic

Unemployed mother, gigantic kid who does not appear to have missed many meals.

Sweet son
11048
Points
Sweet son 03/10/13 - 12:50 pm
3
1
As Cobalt George said: NO!

All of you goody goody people who want to provide the transportation for these people probably don't even pay taxes!

Tracey McManus
55
Points
Tracey McManus 03/10/13 - 02:09 pm
2
3
Where is the compassion?

Wow, everybody. I normally don't comment on my stories, and for the sake of my blood pressure and sanity, I usually try to avoid reading the comments on any Chronicle story because I don't like reading ignorant and racist rants... But I can't go silent on this one. Have any of you people passing judgement on vulnerable children ever been to Tubman? Has anyone observed a class or walked the halls?

The students there are not "misfits" and "brats." They didn't come out of the womb as bad people. They are children who have lost their way. They are children who have barriers in their lives and distractions that you probably couldn't even wrap your heads around. Many live in communities surrounded by drugs, crime, violence, poverty, etc. Others come from two-parent, safe, supportive homes but have made mistakes.
Yes, it's sad that our society has children who commit crimes, do drugs and act out. But these children need help. It is totally unproductive to label these kids as criminals and, as "oldredneckman96" commented earlier, to just ship them off to jail. I mean, really? Oldredneckman96...Do you really want to be that guy????
Go to Tubman and observe a class one day. Principal Wayne Frazier has an open-door policy for visitors and welcomes guests. I promise you will find students who are hungry for guidance and an education. Sometimes children cry out for help. Giving support to troubled kids is what will prevent them from growing up to be another life lost to the prisons and jails.
These kids are often good people living in bad situations. Yes, everyone has choice and free will. But it's not always easy to make the perfect decisions when life is a struggle.
I mean, I don't even know what else to say. It's really sad when people are not willing to give help or support vulnerable, needy children.

lynn7044
190
Points
lynn7044 03/10/13 - 03:02 pm
2
0
Have you visited

I made my way to visit Tubman Education Center, I wanted to see first hand. No, my child is not a student there, but I left with much respect on how Principal Wayne Frazier is running the program. It had more order then some high schools that I have visited in RC. As a taxpayer in RC I wanted to see what the set up was really like and how the students where. When student who are being bully in our schools and principals are doing nothing about it until it come to a head. Students are still dealing with a lot of the same problem when we students its just the internet add a twist to it.
I don't see many parent at the RCBOE meeting making any noises about things that effect all our children in Richmond County. You sit back and let these board members make choices that is really not best for our students. You only saw the RCBOE members out when they were trying to get re-elected.
If you are going to provide buses for the kids who are attending the magnet school which is a choice then you should provide buses for the kids at the alternative school as well. At the end of the day these are still all our children of Richmond County. You don't know what the future have in place for your child no matter how great of a parent you might think you are. Stop point out what is wrong and lets start working together to make it right.

Sweet son
11048
Points
Sweet son 03/10/13 - 04:58 pm
3
0
@Tracey

We understand your concerns and your comment but the help for the needy children must come from home. If it causes inconvenience for parents then maybe they will take more responsibility to insure that misdeeds do not continue to occur!

seenitB4
93216
Points
seenitB4 03/10/13 - 05:36 pm
3
0
Tracey

I too understand your concern.....

Maybe this info will help some....most of us were raised in the 50s-60s--we didn't have the luxuries that you see today in schools...& we dang well didn't have guns in school & we sho didn't punch teachers & such.....whole differnet world back then...my family had many younguns....none had free luch...we walked to school--even in 15 degree weather...so you see we came from a non freebie way of life....I'm not saying this to get a pat on the back but I did notice you were born in 1988....so you wouldn't know some of the hardships we have faced.....so when (I) see kids today & see them squander the free education the tax payers are paying for...it really makes me sick...

I really believe if the parents had to put MORE effort in the payment of bus-lunch-school they would surely appreciate it more....kids today have a wealth of info at their fingertips.....& we all know it.

seenitB4
93216
Points
seenitB4 03/10/13 - 05:46 pm
1
0
also

red-white-blue-purple...makes 0 difference to me...I feel the same about all....so the racist remark isn't true.....most of us are only ignorant at strange times....hahah...& with strange people.

and I don't think Sean will like that....we can't call others those names on here....he will delete us...lol

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