GRETNA, La. —
Every morning and afternoon, 11-year-old Makyla Treaudo takes the same route from Holmes Boulevard, across Terry Parkway towards the JC Penny’s Parking lot at Oakwood Mall in Gretna to catch her bus.
“We leave, start walking. Go down there then turn. And we have to cross the streets and everything and there be traffic,” Treaudo said.
She attends Young Audiences Charter school. The traffic is so heavy sometimes, Treaudo says she gets nervous.
“This one time this man, he swerved and he was like really close. He swerved and went zoom!” Treaudo said.
It’s about a five-minute drive towards her stop, but the walk on a hot and humid day, she feels is twice as long.
"Oh my gosh! Like yesterday, I almost had a heat stroke,” Treaudo said.
“We asked over and over again, since last year she did this,” her father Jimmie Jackson said.
Jackson feels the route is too dangerous for his child and would like her picked up from her mother’s address instead of having to walk that path.
"She's only 11-years-old! You know, what they gonna do when it get dark! Still walk across all of this? I’m sure some parents don’t even have cars to pick their kids up.”
Gretna resident Meosha Johnson's children go to a different school, but she understands their frustration.
“They need somebody here for them to cross these kids. If not, put the bus stop where the kids can come out of their doors safely and get on the bus,” Johnson said.
The school released the following statement regarding the matter:
“Young Audiences Charter School uses centralized bus stops for all of its students. In this particular case, there are no students that reside on Holmes Blvd. that use the Oakwood bus stop that are more than 0.7 miles from the Oakwood bus stop. We follow transportation policies as provided by law and aim to provide the best and most convenient stops for all of our students. The safety of our students is our highest priority and we take any concerns regarding transportation very seriously.”
Students are not released from the bus without a parent or approved adult present for morning drop off and afternoon pick up. Parents must sign a waiver if they allow their child to get off the bus on their own. If a child is walking alone to the bus stop then they must have a waiver signed by their parents.
There are lights where pedestrians can cross on Terry Parkway by Oakwood but no designated crosswalks. We do not have a sign or officers on Terry Parkway. All traffic is required to come to a complete stop on either side of any road by law when the school bus is stopped to facilitate safe crossing.
The stops are chosen by our bus provider. The stop at Oakwood was a stop last year.
Treaudo’s parents say their child never walks home alone and still believe that route is too dangerous, even with a parent or guardian present.
"I’ll take my daughter out of that school. I don’t care charter or whatever. I’m not gonna have her walk that far! And I’m fed up with it!” Jackson said.
The family says they know of at least four other kids nearby who take the same walking route. They also say it’s only when a parent notifies the school that their child may have to walk home alone is when the waiver is discussed and signed.