NH woman fights to get school bus for disabled granddaughter

Posted Sept. 21, 2011, at 3:57 p.m.

DOVER, N.H. — A local grandmother says she has had to jump through hoops to get the Dover School District to provide her six-year-old disabled granddaughter with bus service to Woodman Park School.

Because of a policy that says families who live within one mile of a school will not be provided with transportation, Judith Plaisted has run into some trouble trying to have her granddaughter, Dakota Nason, transported to school.

Dakota suffers from leg problems that have left her with a limp, according to Plaisted, making it difficult for her to walk the quarter mile from her grandmother’s home on Abbey Lane to Woodman Park School. Plaisted said she cannot assist Dakota by walking her to school, as she too is disabled.

“She’s six years old. I’m not letting her walk by herself,” Plaisted insisted. “What they’re doing isn’t right.”

Plaisted asked administrators if her granddaughter could be provided transportation from her home to the school, but was initially denied by the School Board at a meeting on Aug. 22, according to Superintendent Jean Briggs Badger.

“They looked at it like if we do it for one student, we have to do it for everybody,” said Briggs Badger.

Plaisted was then advised by administrators to fill out a form indicating why Dakota’s situation was unique. She then submitted a doctor’s note on Aug. 31 describing her granddaughter’s physical limitations, which Briggs Badger said changed the initial request.

According to the superintendent, a special needs team for the school district reviewed Dakota’s case and agreed to make a recommendation to Provider Enterprises, Inc. to have the girl bussed to school. However, the arrangement to transport the girl outside of the bus company’s regular route is still in the works, said Briggs Badger.

“We’ve definitely been working with the family,” said Woodman Park Principal Patrick Boodey. “This is taking longer than any of us have wanted this to.”

However, Plaisted argues the school has not been working with her and said she has had to pay more than $100 to COAST bus company this month to have Dakota brought to and from school.

“I’m in quite a bind here,” said Plaisted, noting she lives on a fixed income and cannot afford to pay COAST much longer to transport her granddaughter. “I’m really stressed because if I don’t send her to school, I know they’ll put me in jail.”

Briggs Badger said she believes Dakota will be provided with bus transportation to school within a few days, and that Boodey will be notified by Provider when the service will begin.

Boodey told Foster’s Tuesday he has been in communication with Plaisted throughout this process to keep her updated.

© 2011 the Foster’s Daily Democrat

Distributed by MCT Information Services

 

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