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Mother of Northrop freshman worried for son's safety while walking to and from school

The mother of a Northrop freshmen says she's worried for her son's safety while walking to school. After tax caps in 2015 cut funding at FWCS, he doesn't have access to a school bus.

Posted: Aug. 12, 2018 8:53 PM
Updated: Aug. 12, 2018 10:22 PM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT)- When Jillian Lockhart's 14-year-old son starts high school at Northrop Tuesday, he won't have a bus waiting outside their Wallen Hills home.

Instead, Lockhart said her son has to walk down Coldwater Road and cross the busy Wallen and Cook Road intersections.

"The walking's not terrible for children. It's just the unsafe walking conditions," she said.

In a video she posted on Facebook, Lockhart drove the route, and said she's outraged. But she never expected the video to go viral with more than 1,000 shares. She said when she made the video she wasn't trying to look at her phone while driving, she was trying to raise awareness of the issue.

"I've probably had, I think I lost count at like 110 messages from parents and from non-parents, just from people outreaching to me," Lockhart said.

Lockhart said her son walked to and from his middle school in the past.

"He had to walk home... He had sidewalks pretty much the whole way through the neighborhood," she said.

Now they live in a no transportation zone.

In an email, FWCS spokesperson, Krista Stockman, said this is nothing new, and has been in effect since 2015 after a vote for tax caps. A statement on the school district's website says the no transportation zones are due to the decline in funding.

Lockhart said many areas on her son's route don't have sidewalks for him to walk on. According to Google Maps, it's a 41 minute walk from Lockhart's home to Northrop, but it's only 1.9 miles. That means they live just within the 2 mile no transportation zone.

For middle school students, the NTZ is 1.5 miles, and elementary students have to live more than a mile from their schools to ride the bus.

Lockhart said her boss has been working with her, so she may be able to at least take her son to school in the morning.

She said her anger is directed at the situation, not the school. All she and other parents are looking for is for their kids to have access to sidewalks, or for the no transportation zones to be reconsidered.

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