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  • by Jamaal

Stuck In the Middle


School has started! Praise baby Jesus! The days of my kids sitting at home, eating all the food, wasting electricity, and just doing enough not to kill each other, are over. I really really think that parents are the real winners when school starts again. Yes, we want our kids to get an education. However, I think I'm not the only parent who wants our kids just to get out of the damn house.

This year, my kids started in new schools. Ayanna's middle school is literally a five minute walk from my front door to the school's front door. However, Amanyi's elementary school is about half of a mile from my house. Half of a mile is a little more than I want my 8 year old to walk to school by herself every day. Especially when it gets cold outside. And (spoiler alert) it gets hella cold in Iowa. Plus, with all the craziness outside these days, I barely want Ayanna to walk the five minutes to school by herself everyday. I damn sure don't want Amanyi to walk to school by herself everyday.

So about two weeks before school starts, I called the school to see about busing options for my youngest daughter.

This is where the issues began.

I read online that unless you live two miles or more from your school, then you would have to pay $700 a year to have your child bused to school. So pretty much I would have to pay about $70 bucks a month to have my kid ride the bus. Now, I really do not remember how it was "back in the day" when I was a kid, however, if my parents had to pay $700 for my and my sister to ride the bus to school, then we would have been hoofing it. Everyday. And then we would be boring our kids with those stories like, "Back in my day...we had to walk to school. In Gary, Indiana!"

So when I called the school, I was hoping to get some kind of favorable answer about transporting my kid to school everyday. However, I was informed that not only is the $700 busing fee a true statement, that the school did not have any bus routes within a two mile radius for those parents to have an option at all. So even if I wanted to incur the fee, they didn't have any bus routes to begin with!

My next call was to a before school provider in the area that provides service to my daughter's school. Surely, my child was not the only one who had a parent who had to be at work before she started school. Also, I'm sure that I wasn't the only parent who lived too close for busing but too far to walk. And, I was hoping that they would have reasonable fees in order to get my kid to school everyday.

Nope. Wrong on the last part.

According to the before school provider, it would cost roughly $70/ PER WEEK, to transport my child to school everyday.

As a single parent with 1 1/2 incomes raising two kids, I just ain't got it like that playa.

Now, you're probably asking yourself, "Why is this blog post called Stuck In the Middle, Jamaal???" Well good reader, have you ever been in the situation where you don't make enough money to afford some basic service like busing your kids to school, but you make too much money to get government help for it?

Stuck in the middle.

If I was below a certain income threshold, then I would be able to have the state pay for my kid to get that after school program. Now do I want to be on any kind of state assistance? Of course not. I am a pretty independent person, and of course I want to do it myself. However, when you have kids, you have to swallow your pride and do some things that you don't want to do for the good of your kids. You may think that sounds preachy. And (guess what??) it is. But that's life.

Being stuck in the middle sucks. And thank God that my sister agreed to take my daughter to school every morning. However, I may be a little socialist to think that transporting your kids to school everyday shouldn't be a situation where you have to decide if you're going to pay a bill or not. I could stand on a soapbox and decry that this is what is wrong with our society. That we place the financial burdens of what should be gimmies by the state, on hard working families like me. And you.

But, no one cares. And if they did, they would just say something like, "Well maybe you shouldn't have had kids." Or something dumb like that. No one wants to be stuck in the middle, but in the place where we live, that is where we are.

Read and discuss.


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