Migrant Worker Says She Won't Sign Authorization Form for Bus
YAKIMA, Wa - A mother who sends her daughter to the Learning Center in Mabton says she will not sign the authorization form.
She asked KNDO to protect her identity for this story because she is afraid her daughter will no longer be allowed to attend.
This woman says her daughter threw up on at least two or three occasions after riding the bus home from the Mabton. She says the bus was too hot and her daughter became sick.
Migrant workers depend on this bus service to take their children to and from the Learning Center in Mabton during the spring and summer months when they are out harvesting crops. The issue about the air conditioning came to a head this week. That's when the Washington State Migrant Council handed out 'authorization forms' to parents at bus stops. The form says, "I authorize my child to be transported on days when the temperatures are hotter than normal."
"We do the best we can under the circumstances without exposing the children to danger." says Carlos Diaz, Executive Director of The Washington State Migrant Council.
Diaz says they take full responsibility for every child and backed off on the authorization form.
"This is a good experience," he says, "It would probably be time to look at that and if we need to eliminate it we will."
He says this is their busiest time. Every bus they have is being used and none can be replaced. He says the air conditioning on this particular bus has been fixed, but the bus is 12-years-old. He says the a-c can't get any better than it is.
Another problem is that this particular bus handles the route in Mabton. It makes six to eight stops. When the doors open, all that cool air rushes out and the hot air comes in.
Some good news on the horizon... The Migrant Council recently received a half million dollars in funding which they will use to buy 14 new buses. Those buses will be available next April and Diaz says this particular bus will be replaced.