Real News: Can't ride the School Bus if you know English
[Quote]ST. PAUL, Minnesota (AP) -- A school bus driver let Rachel Armstrong's three children board the bus Monday morning, but he warned them that he wouldn't give them a ride home that afternoon, nor could they ever ride his route again.
The problem: Armstrong's 10-year-old twin girls and 8-year-old son speak English. The driver told them the route had been designated for non-English speakers only.
Armstrong said Wednesday that she got a call from a worried daughter who didn't know how she was going to get home. "She thought they had done something wrong," she said.
So a furious Armstrong had to leave work early to pick up her stranded kids from Phalen Lake Elementary School.
It turns out the bus route was meant to serve one of the district's three language academies. Phalen Lake's academy is for Hmong kids learning English, and the academies all have separate bus routes to keep their students together.
The district decided to begin enforcing the separate routes Monday -- but didn't tell the Armstrong family.
School administrators apologized but didn't agree to let Armstrong's children keep riding the bus, as they'd been doing all year.
"It is our responsibility to ensure the safety of these kids and we made a mistake," said Dayna Kennedy, a spokeswoman for the district. "The kids should have gotten home that day."
The Armstrongs also learned that when they moved last year, they landed outside of Phalen's attendance area. Armstrong said she was told her kids would have to transfer if they wanted to keep riding a bus, "or I'd have to find my own way to get them to school."
Armstrong said she arrived home Wednesday to find a message from the principal on her answering machine.
"She would prefer them to stay there rather than leave, and she would like to work on some kind of resolution," Armstrong said.
A simple solution, she said, would be to let her daughters keep riding the bus.
"It's so simple, but they want to come with the red tape and everything," she said. "As long as the kids get to school, that should be the main point."
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