Chicago Public Schools Denies Special Need Children Busing but Offers Citywide Busing to Milburn Alternative School Students

The Chicago Public Schools (CPS) has a slogan of "Children First" but my recent experience has been if you are the "right" student. Recently, here in Chatham CPS stuck a new alternative school in our community without any regards to the feeling of the community, elected officials or parents of those students. The Richard Milburn Alternative School students receive busing and armed security services, provided by CPS, from their homes throughout the City of Chicago to the school located here in Chatham. So I'm perplexed as to why my child busing service is being denied by CPS.

My child, a special needs student, attends Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep the transition from elemetary to high school has been anything but smooth. Although, we thought we were going to be prepared for the first day by submitting our busing forms early because we knew there would be a process because my daughter attends a therapeutic recreation after school program. That proved to be a bad strategy as the office staff at Brooks did not send all the required forms to student transportation in a timely manner although they had they received the forms in a timely manner. The form that did not make it was the request for Chicago Park District "Park Kids" program. The Chicago Public Schools are suppose to drop off students to an "approved' afterschool Chicago Park District program. For whatever the reason, Chicago Park District does not start this program to coincide with the opening of the regular school year. So for several weeks there is no afterschool program.

My adventure with Chicago Public School central office bureaucratic ineffective and incompetent individuals begins. After having to make calls to the student transportation unit to get the using information I was told they never received the form, then I contacted the school and they assured me they sent it and after going back and forth with this over several days we asked the school to resubmit the form. It took several days for the form to make it from the school to central office. The approval process took several days and we were directed to contact the bus company Sunrise Bus Service Calls to the bus company proved unfruitful and finally a call back to the central office someone finally decided to do their job and looked into their database and found that they sent the bus company an approval with the wrong school name on it. So for one week the bus company had an approval for the right student with the wrong school. This could be forgivable but Sunrise Bus doesn't serve the school listed. Thinking I'm at the end of this adventure a bomb is dropped on me, the bus company states they cannot drop my daughter off at the park unless they receive a letter from the school ensuring that she can safely be placed on another bus that would be going towards the park.

This is where part two of my adventure begins as we go back between the school, bus company and the student transportation unit playing "Who's on First" as no one knew who was suppose to do what. Finally, after a rude and unprofessional conversation with Sunrise Bus, we called student transportation and was transferred to the general manager of the unit who stated my daughters application was denied because there was no bus leaving her school that passed the park. When I stated that was incorrect as there are two buses that pass the park, his story changed and stated that it was off her route. I explained that for the pass 3 years she has received busing to the park from CPS with the understanding it was "off her route". Again, his story changed and he became rude, indignant and unprofessional and stated he was following "policy". I have since called and tweeted CPS and have been referred to several clueless, incompetent individuals in Special Education and Operations. My email to Patricia Taylor, Chief Operating Officer has yet to be answered.

So the bottom line here is if your child acts a damn fool and gets kicked out like the students at Milburn, who get busing and armed security guards, you can get attention from CPS. If you teach your child respect and manners and send them to school to learn they get shafted. Thanks CPS for making "Children First". I guess my child is not the right kind of child.

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