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Lakeland mom shares concerns over 6-year-old twins' walk to school

Lack of sidewalk and high weeds pose safety problem
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Posted at 8:10 AM, Aug 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-16 08:10:55-04

LAKELAND, Fla.  — A Lakeland mother says it's just a matter of time before a child is hurt while walking to school along Maine Avenue.

Suzanne Miller's 6-year-old twin boys attend Oscar J. Pope Elementary school and because they live within a two-mile radius of the school they cannot ride the bus.

"Sometimes truckers will have to go on the other side of the road where oncoming traffic is just to keep from hitting people that's walking down there," Miller said.

She took a video of the boys walking to school to show school and county leaders the problem.

"It kind of worries me because you don't know what can happen until like the last minute," Miller said. "When I'm trying to show the school how it is and they just shrug it off and turn around and walk away. Even when I'm like if you guys can't do anything then what happens if a child gets hit. Then what because I think by then it's going to be too late."

ABC Action News contacted representatives with Polk County schools.

Within hours a safety specialist was sent to the area to evaluate it and determined the kids' route isn't safe.

They arranged bus transportation for Miller's boys and other kids in the area which will begin on Monday.

Jason Geary with Polk County schools said, "The principal of Oscar J. Pope Elementary said she and her staff have been concerned about the safety of this route to school for several years. They have done what they can to mitigate some of the traffic danger to students and staff — including reaching out to the county office responsible for sidewalks — but it remains an issue of great concern to the OJP community."

Miller said she would like to see the speed lowered and a sidewalk in the area for the kids.

In the meantime, Geary said the transportation department is working to contact the correct government entity within the county to find a permanent fix.