A school board in Canada is refusing to move a school bus stop about 160 feet in order to accommodate a disabled student, his family says. The lad has prosthetic limbs and has difficulty walking on snow.
As CTV News reports, the Webster family has been trying, and failing, for months to convince Durham Student Transportation Services (DSTS), the bus service that has a contract to shuttle students in the district, to change the stop location. Durham is a few miles northwest of Toronto.
Kurt and Melissa Webster’s 7-year-old son, Rui, lost both of his legs and uses prosthetic limbs to walk. Normally he gets around just fine, but he has difficulty walking on uneven surfaces, particularly sand and snow.
“Our son cannot feel the ground, he doesn’t have feet, so walking on uneven ground is difficult for him. If you put him on ice, gravel, snow or sand, he’s less stable,” Kurt says.
Getting onto the school bus was, until last September, not a problem for the boy. The bus stop was just a couple of houses down the street from him, and though Canadian winters can bring a lot of snow, the neighbors, along whose sidewalks Rui would have to walk to get to his bus stop, were diligent about keeping them clear for the children.
Last September, however, the busing contractor changed the routes, and Rui’s bus stop was moved about 160 feet down the street. What’s more, Rui has to cross an intersection to reach the bus stop, which is near a post office box and, thus, gets a bit of a traffic boost as well.
That isn’t an issue for Rui on days when there isn’t snow, but on snowy days, it’s downright treacherous for the young boy.
What’s more, snow plows often deposit large banks of snow along the side of the road, banks that Rui has to traverse.
More than once, Rui’s parents have had to lift him over a snow bank. Twice last week, Rui slipped and fell.
The busing contractor has steadfastly refused to change the route. The school district has refused to budge as well, the Websters say.
“We just want the bus stop put back where it was or for them to assign Rui to another bus that still goes past our house – either of these things are easy to do,” Kurt says.
Neither the bus company nor the school district has commented on this issue.