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Principal Frazier has option for alternative school busing

Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014 8:04 PM
Last updated Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014 1:54 AM
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In less than one year, the idea of offering transportation to students attending Richmond County’s alternative program has taken many shapes.

It was trashed by Board of Education members in March, brought back to the table nine months later, pleaded for by parents then put on hold.

Most recently, district officials explored using one bus to make seven depot stops across the district to bring students to the alternative program downtown. On Tuesday, board attorney Pete Fletcher said the plan has to be revised and brought back next month because it has proved to be too complicated.

However, Wayne Frazier, the principal of the alternative program, said he believes there is a viable option not yet being explored. Frazier said students could ride their normal buses to their zoned schools then transfer to a shuttle bus that would take them to the alternative program housed on Baker Street, which is the arrangement in place for students attending the district’s magnet schools.

“I’m doing this recommendation as if my personal child was in this situation and needed transportation to school,” said Frazier, who has not yet presented his idea to district staff. “They are not going to get any better by being on the street. They need to be at school so if they did make a mistake, they can learn to better themselves at school.”

Students suspended from schools all across the district are given the option to attend the alternative center downtown in lieu of long-term suspension, but Frazier said many have difficulty getting there because they don’t have a ride or can’t make it on the city buses.

“My son has only been in school two days this week because I don’t have a car to get him there,” Shani Briggs, of Hephzibah, said Thursday.

Briggs said her son went to live with a relative downtown in August, when he was suspended from Hephzibah High School, to be closer to the alternative program. After the relative moved and her son returned home, Briggs said he gets to school only when she has the cash to pay a friend to drive him the 30-mile round trip.

The state Department of Education does not keep track of how many districts provide transportation for alternative programs, but various surrounding school systems make the arrangement work.

In Columbia County, one bus makes five stops throughout the county to pick up students and drive them to the alternative program on Gibbs Road. The students have to find a way to the depot stops, but Transportation Director Dewayne Porter said few have had problems in the roughly 10 years the system has been in place.

“We have a driver and an aide assigned to that bus who work with the students, and we’ve had very few issues in the last several years,” Porter said. “The driver and the aide work well together. They get to know the students … it’s a pretty simple route.”

The Burke County School District – a smaller system with one middle school, one high school and 4,400 students – transports alternative program students with a shuttle system like Richmond County’s magnet program.

Students ride their normal buses to their zoned schools then take a shuttle bus to the alternative center.

The Bibb County School District also uses the shuttle method, said Transportation Director Anthony Jackson.

The Savannah-Chatham County Public School System runs a bus through “strategically established” stops throughout the county, which picks up students and brings them to the alternative school, said spokesperson Kurt Hetager.

The Atlanta Public School System does not provide a bus for the alternative program, but students are given passes to ride the city buses, said spokesperson Kimberly Willis Green.

In December, Juvenile Court Judge Pamela Doumar asked the Richmond County school board to consider providing a bus because it could significantly help reduce juvenile crime.

The court got a $250,000 state grant this summer to pay for three therapists to do home therapy with about 20 at-risk youth and their families.

The grant is part of the Children in Need of Services program, a classification created under Georgia’s new juvenile justice law to rehabilitate rather than detain youths who commit status offenses.

Doumar said many of the students in the CHINS program also will be in the alternative program and cannot be rehabilitated if they are not in school.

Fletcher said Tuesday that it would cost $6,000 to have one bus make six to seven depot stops at community centers across the district and that juvenile court has offered $3,000. To complete that route, however, a bus would have to run as early as 5:30 a.m. and would not finish dropping students home until after 6 p.m.

The Department of Juvenile Justice has agreed to put probation officers on the bus and in the community centers to monitor the students, but Fletcher said they would not be able to work these hours.

Transportation Director Jimmie Wiley said shuttling alternative students like the magnet student-method can be explored but also might be costly and cause more issues.

“What we’re doing now is exploring other avenues,” Wiley said. “Even exploring other avenues, there’s some logistics that have to be worked out.”

Comments (15) Add comment
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Pops
8544
Points
Pops 02/21/14 - 10:11 pm
9
3
Frazier needs to realize that MOST of

these little "children" don't want any part of school. And as far as his comment about them being on the street....that is where they grew up....the so-called "parents" just want them out of their hair......

Little Lamb
46029
Points
Little Lamb 02/21/14 - 11:40 pm
7
3
I don’t agree with this - - -

Principal of the alternative school Wayne Frazier said:

“They need to be at school so if they did make a mistake, they can learn to better themselves at school.”

It seems to me that “they” made more than merely a mistake. No, they attacked a teacher, they hurt a student, they violated weapons policies, they violated illegal drug policies, they participated in fighting, they sexually abused someone, and more, and more.

Sorry, Principal Frazier, but these miscreants do not deserve taxpayer-funded transportation to the alternative school. The lack of taxpayer-funded transportation is part of the punishment for violating the rules and the laws of Georgia.

internationallyunknown
4211
Points
internationallyunknown 02/22/14 - 02:46 am
5
9
Give the kids a chance

The two above comments are sickening and sad.

Yet, Columbia County understands that EVERYONE makes mistakes and gives out second chances.

nocnoc
42682
Points
nocnoc 02/22/14 - 07:56 am
6
4
I would have to disagree with Principal Frazier

These brats were removed from their schools for behavior issues.
Some for fighting, assaulting Teachers or students, drugs and sexual misconduct.

Allowing these brats to intermingle again with students they have grudges against or have assaulted, or got druggy with and etc... is asking for more problems.

They are, where they are, because they could no longer be where they were, for the safety of other students and Staff in too many cases.

Their misbehavior brought their re-location on themselves as a punishment. Their Parent(s) need to understand they need to OWN UP and get them to school.

corgimom
32533
Points
corgimom 02/22/14 - 08:49 am
6
4
They cannot possibly ride

They cannot possibly ride their normal buses to their home school, that's the whole point of suspensions/expulsions.

They aren't allowed back at their school until their time is over.

What a hare=brained idea.

corgimom
32533
Points
corgimom 02/22/14 - 08:49 am
5
4
Noc, brats isn't the word.

Noc, brats isn't the word.

Criminals is more like it.

My parents would've said, "You did this, now you figure it out! Start walking!"

corgimom
32533
Points
corgimom 02/22/14 - 08:51 am
5
4
"To complete that route,

"To complete that route, however, a bus would have to run as early as 5:30 a.m. and would not finish dropping students home until after 6 p.m."

Boo hoo, maybe they should've thought of that before they got in trouble.

They can do their homework on the bus.

Little Lamb
46029
Points
Little Lamb 02/22/14 - 11:25 am
3
3
Bus

In many cases, the students are being punished for bad behavior on the bus. Would Wayne Frazier also allow those students to ride the bus to alternative school?

Absurd.

nocnoc
42682
Points
nocnoc 02/22/14 - 01:00 pm
2
0
C-Mom .... I Got kicked off the bus a few times

YEP!,
They said walk the 4+ miles the HJH and HHS.
I did... and because of the reason behind why I felt it was warranted.

I never fully learned the diplomatic route of discussion with Jocks, and already had my Nidan BB in Karate.

nocnoc
42682
Points
nocnoc 02/22/14 - 01:00 pm
3
1
BTW: TECHNICALLY STILL BRATS

Until convicted in a Court of LAW, because school courts don't count.

But I agree C-MOM criminals none the less.

corgimom
32533
Points
corgimom 02/22/14 - 03:53 pm
2
0
I had to walk a few times

I had to walk a few times because I missed the bus, but with my parents, oh no, no way did any of the 5 of us misbehave. Our will to live was too strong.

My parents didn't fool around with us at all.

GnipGnop
12240
Points
GnipGnop 02/22/14 - 07:00 pm
2
0
I tell you how they get to school

however their darling parents can get them there. That's what punishment is all about. Most of them should be expelled for disrupting every other child's learning but because of the stupid NCLB laws that counts the suspensions as absences it doesn't happen.

scoobynews
3854
Points
scoobynews 02/23/14 - 07:29 am
6
3
Parents are to blame.

They need to deal with the problems they created. They can make it anywhere else in Augusta just fine yet can't get their kid to school? I am not buying it. The behavior many of these "kids" learn starts early. I rarely go to the deans bridge Walmart but it was on my way home so I stopped in for milk. As I was getting ready to leave with my son who was in the buggy looking at a box of lego a little boy in his moms buggy said, "give me that toy little boy!" The mom said nothing!!! In fact she thought it was cute. This kid couldn't have been more than five! Already learning bullying behaviors and mom saying nothing to teach him better. I have no sympathy for these parents because they helped create these problems now they need to deal with them. Children don't get that way on their own.

raul
4890
Points
raul 02/23/14 - 11:34 am
4
1
Let the parents organize

Let the parents organize zoned carpools. Give the kids bicyles. Show some initiative. Nope, gotta rely on the gubmint.

jimmymac
39881
Points
jimmymac 02/23/14 - 04:11 pm
0
0
BUSING
Unpublished

When did bussing become necessary for kids to get to school? I can understand kids in rural areas getting bused but every kid living in a city should be able to walk to school. I grew up in a large city and walking two miles was not unusual to get to school. The districts were large and you walked to get to school or your parents took you. It wasn't the taxpayers responsibility to see that your kids got to school. Quit trying to make kids who don't want to be educated be forced to learn. It's not going to work unless the parent and the kid desires it.

lifelongresident
1323
Points
lifelongresident 02/24/14 - 12:34 pm
0
0
the sorry azz
Unpublished

the sorry azz project-welfare-leeches-parasitice broodmare "mammies" can find away to "git to dah clubs" ebbery weekend so let them find away to get their children to the knucklehead-dummy school.....oooops i mean the alternative school..hell i don't see the big uproar anyway because its nothing more than a baby sitting academy with no learning ocurring unless they are being taught how to fill out the welfare/wic/foo stamp application, "count rock", or put "22's" on a car other than that its a lost cause its best to just expel all of them...oh but then the county's academic performance will immediatley imporve and the county will not be eligible for knucklehead-dumb az hell money"...oooops i mean race to the top funds

internationallyunknown
4211
Points
internationallyunknown 02/25/14 - 01:50 pm
0
0
Is Columbia County giving

Is Columbia County giving away bikes and organizing carpools?

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