As parents, we tend to live in fear of being "that mom," the one who complains about something her kid's school is doing and ends up being labeled as the pain in the butt. But this may change your mind. A family has been awarded $90 million in a lawsuit against their daughter's school this week because the Maryland school failed to keep their 13-year-old safe.
Ashley Davis was crossing the street to get on her bus when a motorist hit her. She died as a result of her injuries. Her devastated parents decided to sue the Prince George's County Board of Education rather than the motorist for one simple reason.
District policy dictated that Ashley should have been picked up by the bus on her own side of the street, but they didn't do that. They made her cross the street.
Of course, if they'd followed policy, Ashley would be alive.
It's a heartbreaking story, but one that makes me angry too. School districts tend to get more lax with their transportation rules as kids get older. The idea is that older kids should be "old enough" to handle the more difficult walks to a bus stop in spots that might not be quite as "safe."
My daughter is only 7, and I'm already stressing about the bus stop I expect her to be assigned to when she is Ashley's age. It's not just farther from my house, but in a precarious spot with no sidewalks, at a junction of two roads, near a parking lot and a driveway. If the district insists on making that her stop, I've already decided to fight them tooth and nail.
The Davis' family's win in court only strengthens my resolve.
As mom, Nycole Davis, said:
If she didn’t have to cross the street ... she’d be graduating this year. She’d be going to prom this year.
This family got $90 million, but they would much rather have their daughter. Wouldn't we all?
If we can learn anything from the Davis' tragedy, it's that we should keep on fighting until a school district does what is right for our kids. I don't care what label a school district is going to put on me for standing up for my daughter. All I care is that she's safe.
Have you ever felt like your kid's district was putting your child in danger? What did you do?
Image via bsabarnowl/Flickr