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IPS parents want safety, transportation at the forefront of Wednesday's 'State of the District'

IPS Superintendent Dr. Aleesia Johnson will lead the "State of the District" Wednesday, Sept. 22 at 6 p.m.

INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Public Schools' "State of the District" address will cover a variety of topics Wednesday, including safety, the COVID-19 pandemic and the future of education.

The virtual event is taking place Sept. 22 at 6 p.m. 

This year's theme is "Rebuilding Stronger."

Superintendent Dr. Aleesia Johnson postponed the event last week to honor the death of 7-year-old Hannah Crutchfield, who died after a multi-car crash sent a car and SUV into a crosswalk in front of her school. Crutchfield's mom and a crossing guard were also injured in the crash.

RELATED: Superintendent posts personal message about Indianapolis crosswalk crash that killed student, injured 2 others

RELATED: Parents demand change at intersection where 7-year-old girl was killed

Alicia Rodriguez, a parent of an IPS student, said she'll keep an open mind during Wednesday's event but wants to hear Johnson specifically address safety and transportation.

Rodriguez's 9-year-old son goes to Lew Wallace School 107. He was mistakenly placed in the new "walk zone" category for IPS students, but he lives more than a mile from his school.

"[I'd like to hear about] the bus issue because if you hadn't have gotten involved with me, which also helped some other kids in our neighborhood, my son would have had to walk to school," Rodriguez said.

RELATED: Therapist: Parents should be transparent with children when addressing traumatic events at school

RELATED: Reviewing the IPS 'walk zone policy'

IPS developed a "walk zone policy" for the 2020-2021 school year to save costs on school bus transportation, requiring an additional 2,000 kids to now walk to school.

Here is how IPS classifies walkers:

  • K-6 grade students who live 1 mile or less from their school.
  • 7-8 grade students who live 1.25 miles or less from their school.
  • 9-12 grade students who live 1.5 miles or less from their school.

"For me, it's not just my son. There are other kids whose parents weren't making a fuss about it and getting somebody involved to get their kid on the bus who do live far enough out to where it is not safe for them to walk," Rodriguez said.

Aside from safety and transportation, Rodriguez said she wants to hear more about school choice programs.

Rodriguez's son lives in a bilingual home, but she said she's been unsuccessful getting him accepted into one of the language immersion schools.

Rodriguez believes school leaders should offer more programs that have educational programs in multiple languages since there is a large number of families who don't speak English or Spanish.

"Rebuilding is awesome, but we have to make sure our foundation is strong for every single student. Then, they can build whatever they want to build on top of that," Rodriguez said.

Click here to register to be part of the conversation during the virtual State of the District event.