Sunday, December 21, 2014

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Families With Special Needs Struggle To Get Children To School During Strike

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TWC News: Families With Special Needs Struggle To Get Children To School During Strike
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The bus strike proved difficult for parents across the city, but it has been especially burdensome on those with special needs children. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.

Tchaka Ebron struggles with his own disability but now he has to drive his 6 year old autistic child to and from school as well.

"It's been hell getting up in the morning fighting traffic to get down here," Ebron said.

Four or five buses carried kids to and from the Rebecca School Wednesday. The drivers work for a non-striking union. But 20 some other busses didn't show up because the drivers likely hit the picket lines.

"They've been going on a bus strike," student Elijah Brown said.

Most of the students at Rebecca School are diagnosed with some level of autism.

"He thought he was going to miss some activities at the school because we had no choice but to be late," parent Dierdra Copps said.

"For our kids especially, routine, structure, knowing what to expect is really important for them and this has definitely thrown them off," school Program Director Tina McCourt said.

McCourt said some of the children took much longer to settle into the day. But 30 percent of the 116 students didn't make it to school at all because the kids couldn't handle the change or the parents couldn't manage it.

Eliza Factor and her husband each took off two hours from work. He dropped off their 9 year old and she picked him up.

"Luckily we have a car," Factor said. "I don't know what people do who don't have a car. He can't go on public transportation."

Ziograin Correa took his 6 year old on public transportation to get to school. Correa said he's lucky his little guy likes the train.

"We're hoping it's not long before the union and the city reach an agreement," Correa said.

That sentiment was echoed by many parents. Some blame the city while others blame the bus companies. Still others blame the union.

"I'm angry at the bus union because they're affecting the children," parent Tchaka Ebron said.

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