Mother worried for son's safety after courtesy busing eliminated

- Leah Cohen cringes when she sees cars driving 50-60 miles per hour right outside her Riverview neighborhood, just feet from where her son walks to and from school.

"My fear is that the district is going to do nothing about it to fix it, and someone is going to get hit by a car," said Cohen. "And, then maybe, they'll look into fixing it."

She’s worried about safety, after the district eliminated courtesy busing for 7,500 students, including Cohen's 13-year-old son.

The district says it is redirecting the $3 million in savings back into the schools.

"We want to make sure that we're equitable across the district in making sure that those students who meet the hazardous walking conditions, according to the state, receive the busing," said Tonya Arja, spokesperson for Hillsborough County Schools. "Those who do not meet the state criteria will no longer receive that busing."

"They don't come out and evaluate this road is very dangerous. This road has no crosswalks. It has no sidewalks," said Cohen. "There's no crossing guard. Unless a parent is there to supervise their child crossing the road, there's no way to tell they're going to be able to cross safely."

Cohen makes sure, every morning and afternoon, she is with her son when he crosses Boyette Road. After all, it's not he who she's worried will make the wrong decision. It's the drivers.

"All it takes is a distracted driver to go off the road and hit one of those kids."

Courtesy busing was eliminated from just the middle and high schools for now. Arja tells us the county will look at elementary school routes, but no decision has been made on that yet.

The state of Florida does not fund busing for students who live within two miles of their school.

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