VIRGINIA

Arlington Public Schools walk policy frustrates some parents

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The first day of school in Arlington turned out to be a bit more chaotic then some parents would like. Much more traffic, police and children walking to school.

Up to 1,500 additional students will be getting to school this year without the help of a school bus. Some of them don't have a choice thanks to a new countywide policy.

All students living within a mile of their school won't be allowed to take the bus, in fact their stops have been eliminated. Most parents at Taylor Elementary drove their children or walked with them Tuesday.

"When you live a mile away, 25-35 minute walk,” says parent John O’Riley. “They can't do that so it’s a tremendous burden."

Parents say Military Road does seem to be more congested then prior first day of schools.

The plan eliminates 23 bus stops. School officials say it will only affect 250 students.

Officials say the new walking zone policy is not really about saving money but rather making bus service more efficient for a growing 22,000 student school system.

Karen Moody-Alchin also refused to let her son walk to school Tuesday morning.

"Having to leave in the morning, in the dark, alone, walking? No," Moody-Alchin exclaims.

Instead, her husband drove their son the 1.2 miles to Williamsburg Middle School.

Many parents ABC7 spoke with said the issue isn't necessarily the walk; it's about safety.

Hundreds of parents have already filed formal complaints.

Parents at Taylor Elementary say the school is trying to help by expanding its "Kiss and Learn" drop-off area. The expansion will help ease any congestion caused by the dozens more parents in their cars dropping off and picking up their children.

Parents have been told to expect more police presence around school zones the first few days.

Many are still trying to figure out an alternative way to appeal the school district's decision.

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