Nov 12, 2012
Marckel Ross was shot and killed the morning of Sept. 11, 2012, as he was walking to school. A junior at Central High in Capitol Heights, Maryland, Ross had been involved in ROTC, ran track, and had been considering joining the military. His younger brother Markies left home for the same school later that morning, and found out his brother had been killed when he reached the police crime scene.
Police still have no suspects or motives in their investigation.
Like thousands of students around the country, Marckel Ross had been forced to walk or find a ride because of school bus service cuts. Beginning this school year, 2,350 school bus stops in Prince George’s County (near Washington, D.C.) were eliminated. All bus service has been eliminated for middle and high school students who live within two miles of their school – up from a mile and a half. For elementary students as young as six years old, the walking distance was increased from one mile to 1.5 miles. And for anyone still “qualified” for a school bus ride, the walk to the nearest bus stop was doubled from a quarter mile to up to half a mile.
County officials who made these cuts are well aware that they’re risking students’ lives. The proof of it is a letter sent to parents before the school year even started. The education bureaucrats advised parents to tell their children to “be aware of their surroundings” and to “tell an adult if they see anything suspicious.” As if these families – who face violence in their “surroundings” the minute they walk out their front door – aren’t already very well aware of the fact!
In a violent society, no school system can completely protect students. But for anyone who must live and attend school in a crime-ridden area, bus service isn’t about “convenience.” It’s the most basic safety requirement that a school system could provide.
It’s an outrage that county officials are making the conscious choice not to provide it.