FILED IN: Education

Blind Florida mom in bind after school district eliminates busing service

Visually impaired mother scrambles to find a way to get Kindergarten son to school.
Visually impaired mother scrambles to find a way to get Kindergarten son to school.

A mother in Lake County, Florida, is scrambling as school starts, after she learned that busing in her neighborhood was cut due to school district wide budget constraints.

The situation presents further challenges for the mother of two, a 2 and 5-year-old, because she is legally blind.

Tammy Wilkins-Ferrell told the Orlando Sentinel that her family lives a mile from the school and walking to school means crossing  a busy highway. Wilkins-Ferrell’s husband’s job prevents him from being able to walk their Kindergarten son, David, to school, so she is left with very little options. Wilkins-Ferrell says that walking David to school is simply not safe. She says that the device she would need to use, a monocular, in order to determine the position of the lights at the busy intersection she must cross, would be impossible to use while pushing a stroller.

Wilkins-Ferrell said, “I can’t use my cane and push a baby stroller. And what happens when some car doesn’t see that I can’t see and that I have to use a monocular and they hit me?”

David’s school, Lost Lake Elementary, is helping Wilkins-Ferrell establish a special needs plan in order to force the school district to accommodate David and offer busing services, but Wilkins-Ferrell says the process is slow and won’t come in time for school to start. Wilkins-Ferrell says she’ll have to rely on friends to take David to school until the school district determines his extenuating circumstances, approving him for special services. Wilkins-Ferrell hopes the decision comes sooner rather than later.

“I just don’t have all the resources to make a permanent resolution,” Wilkins-Ferrell said.