By ERICA PITZI Staff reporter 8:35 p.m. EDT, September 22, 2011
WHITESTONE, NY (PIX11)— Parents with children who go to Junior High School 194 in Queens are scared to death for their kids new school commute.
And the kids are scared too.
"We shouldn't be able to go on the buses at our age because you never know, somebody might pick us up and steal us," 8th grader Megan Hall told PIX 11.
Parent Susan Garcia said, "I don't think they're really safe on the buses, something could happen to them."
Garcia is one of many College Point parents in this predicament since the Department of Education cut school bus service to thousands of junior high school students, including Garcia's daughter Bella.
"It is really dangerous," said Bella.
Not to mention, their school commute can take up to two hours when they live only 15 minutes away.
6th Grader Melanie Dobular explained her route to us, saying, "I go on the 76, then get on 20b, then take the 25 rest of the way."
"This is completely unacceptable - all sorts of safety issues," said NYC Councilman Dan Halloran who is trying to help change this situation for his constituents.
"We're working hard with the Department (of Education) to get waivers for some kids, and we've gotten some of these variances through but the bottom line is the city needs to take better care of these kids as a whole. Our 12-year-olds should not be worrying about how getting to school."
Councilman Halloran says his office will hold a press conference on Monday to raise even more awareness to this issue in hopes of creating change for the affected communities.
The DOE told PIX 11 the cuts came "because of the tight budget" but says it is providing eligible students with Metro Cards.
That does not address the student safety issue, so for some parents, that response is not enough.
"I don't think it's even close to enough," said Garcia.
Even the kids can tell the DOE what is good enough.
"I want them to bring back the yellow school buses," said Hall.
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