What could bring the Providence Superintendent, the CEO of the RI Public Transit Authority, the City Council President, School Board members, gubernatorial and mayoral candidates, and state legislators out to the home of Providence high school sophomore Natalia Rossi yesterday at 6:30 in the morning?
PSU took on this campaign because in Providence, high school students are not eligible to receive free bus passes to help get to class unless they live over three miles from their schools. This means that low-income families are being asked to pay thousands of dollars to access their “free” public education, and that many students have to walk up to three miles – often through rain, snow or sleet – just to get to school.
That’s why we organized the “Walk In Our Shoes” Challenge yesterday: to help our public officials understand just how much of a burden this policy is for young people.
PSU members invited officials from every agency involved in school transportation to put themselves in students’ shoes by joining a PSU member in her daily 2.96-mile walk to school. Her hour-long journey over ice and treacherous roads brought a lot of attention to this problem. Check out some of the coverage: