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Lee County policy says 'one bus' for shared custody kids

Posted: 4:56 PM, Aug 19, 2016
Updated: 2016-08-19 22:34:19Z
CAPE CORAL, Fla., - Is a Lee County School Bus policy discriminatory towards divorced families? That's what one parent is saying after her requests for the school district to accommodate for custody arrangements was denied.
 
"I almost feel like it's discrimination a little bit. The children are being discriminated against because their parents are divorced," said Kristin Failla, a parent of a 6th grader at Gulf Middle School in Cape Coral.
 
Failla and her ex-husband Charles Failla want the school district to drop off their son at the mother's house when she has custody and the father's house when he has custody. 
 
They tell Fox4 that last week, their son was dropped off at the wrong stop after they requested via a letter to the school principal to change the drop off destination.
 
"Our son was outside for three hours. We didn't know where he was," said Charles Failla, the father of the 11 year old boy. 
 
Failla tells Fox4 that for the last six years, the District allowed their child to ride two different buses depending on whether he was going to his mom's or dad's home. But this year the District told them their child could only ride one bus.
 
"I was pretty much told well that's what he's going to have to do. My son is expected to walk three miles to his bus stop and cross a main road. I'm sorry, that's not gonna happen," Failla said.
 
Four In Your Corner reached out to the Lee County School District to find out why they won't make the accommodation. A spokeswoman with the District tells Fox4 that their policy, which has been in place for the last several years, puts the responsibility of transportation on the parent. It states in part, "Since many of our buses are full, we cannot reserve a seat part-time and possibly deprive a full-time rider." 
 
The District wouldn't comment on Failla's specific case but they also cited economic restraints as to why they can't accommodate students of divorced parents. Their policy states that because they have several thousand students in a similar situation, they can't afford to grand all of them seats on two different buses.
 
For the complete Lee County School Bus policy on shared custody, go to http://www.leeschools.net/transportation%20information