DFER DC Testimony on the Safe Passage to School Expansion Act

Press Releases

October 15, 2021

The Committee of the Whole and

the Committee on Transportation & the Environment Public Hearing:

Kyle Myers
Community Organizer
Democrats for Education Reform DC

Good morning Chairman Mendelson, Councilmember Cheh, Committee of the Whole, and Committee on Transportation and the Environment:

My name is Kyle Myers, and I am a Ward 5 resident and 5th generation Washingtonian. I am testifying on behalf of Democrats for Education Reform DC (DFER DC). I am pleased to testify in support of Bill 24-66, the Safe Passage to School Expansion Act of 2021. Our children’s safety has to be a number one priority. I commend you on the efforts already put forth and the different resources that have been provided.

As we know, our students are vulnerable to many different hazards on their commute to and from school, especially if traveling alone. Some fall victim to harassment, violence, traffic danger, and all sorts of other obstacles. This can result in physical, mental, and emotional trauma that can hinder a child in a learning setting. Causing them to feel unsafe, anxious, and possibly affect their behavior. It is our responsibility to ensure the exact opposite. More immediate action needs to take place for these things not to happen.

I asked two of my nieces and nephews about their experiences on their way to school using. metro public transportation.  While some days are normal, they expressed that they do face some uncomfortable situations on buses and at metro stations, specifically at Anacostia metro station. My niece mentioned her commute home from school is always more troubling than her commute in the morning. She has faced verbal harassment from people who like to post up at or around the station for long periods. Sometimes they have enough gall to approach or even follow her. This ultimately puts my nephew, her brother, in a very compromising position on her behalf. Also, they both mentioned that there have been times when they have had issues with other students while using the metro. With the proper supervision, a lot of these situations can be prevented.  Providing shuttle buses from metro stations to school does provide some relief to harmful outside. exposure. It also gives the student a sense of security. We need to have more personnel posted in. neighborhoods, school districts, and metro stations during school hours, people that are designated for our students’ guidance and safety. These resources also provide security for the parents. Knowing that their child has a safe commute to and from school can save on stress and anxiety. It may also lighten the load for parents who feel obligated to personally take their. children to school, due to the risk factors along the way.

Our students’ safety is always the highest priority and the first step in providing a healthy education. We must ensure all aspects of their learning environments are covered because it all plays a huge factor in how they grow and the path they follow. I recognize and again commend you on all the resources provided for our families, and I look forward to seeing. continued improvement.

Thank you for allowing me to testify in support of Bill 24-66, the Safe Passage to School Expansion Act of 2021.