Edwards Calls for Action Items on BLA Bus Fracas

City Councilor Lydia Edwards said this week that she is calling for united action from parents in District 1 regarding the Charlestown bus that goes to Boston Latin Academy (BLA) – that in the wake of an incident recently where Boston Public Schools (BPS) staff forcibly removed high school students from the bus.

Parents around the Town who rely on the bus were riled about two weeks ago when high school students were removed from the bus and letters were sent telling parents not to put their high schoolers on the BLA bus. The bus, district officials said, was for 7th and 8th graders only.

In the past, high schoolers had ridden the bus despite its intent for only the lower grades without incident, but that suddenly changed.

Edwards said she has looked into the issue and BPS said they would not provide a second bus for the high school. She said she was told there was a capacity of 65 students on the bus and 56 eligible students.

“We responded to each of the parents that called or wrote our office,” she said. “We wanted to make sure that they heard from us and that we did not get divided. These are solvable problems and it’s critical we do not disparage other members of our communities or other neighborhoods in Boston. I have reached out to BPS and impacted parents in an effort to find unified solutions. Thus far, BPS has refused to give us a date or time. I sincerely hope to partner with BPS on this in the immediate future. I have also asked about getting an MBTA bus and this idea was rejected outright.”

Edwards said the unique burdens of District 1 need to be considered, and that there is an issue of fairness due to Hyde Park and West Roxbury students getting a bus to BLA.

Edwards said she is calling for Transportation Mitigation and a Parent Task Force immediately.

“Together, we can talk about strategy and advocacy for getting additional resources for our kids,” she said. “We can also discuss short term/immediate needs of carpooling and safety for our kids. We will continue to push for a meeting with BPS and with the MBTA.”

Edwards also said she’s working with State Rep. Dan Ryan to push for the BLA bus being a mitigation measure for all of the construction going on in Charlestown – including the North Washington Street Bridge.

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