CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Faith Bostic says her daughter Jordan, a pre-kindergarten student at Sharon Dawes Elementary, wants to ride the bus every morning but can't.
Though the bus goes right by the Bostics' home, it only stops for Head Start students. Faith said her family makes too much money to qualify for the federally subsidized preschool program.
George Beckett, Kanawha schools' transportation director, says Jordan can ride the bus as long as there's room and she catches it at an already-established Head Start stop. Otherwise, he said, the county can't afford to offer its pre-kindergarten students transportation.
Faith says only six or seven of Jordan's classmates ride the bus to Sharon Dawes Elementary and the nearest Head Start stop is about two miles in either direction.
Head Start and pre-kindergarten students share the same classrooms and teachers and do the same activities. Parents with children in pre-kindergarten just have to provide transportation and pay for meals, Beckett said.
Faith said Jordan loves school buses. Her grandmother drives one, and the Head Start driver, known as "C.B.," is a family friend.
"He said 'I'm sorry, it's against our guidelines. She's not on our list; we're not allowed to pick her up,' " Bostic said.
Bostic said she called Beckett about the matter. She says Beckett explained she could take her child to a pre-established Head Start stop, but the bus couldn't stop at her home.
"I said, 'I don't care to do that but the point is, we pay taxes like everybody else for this stuff. Why are our children being able to be discriminated against?' " she said.
Bostic said her son was able to ride the bus when he was in pre-kindergarten because a Head Start student lived next door. She said she doesn't think it would be a problem for the bus to pick up Jordan.
"I think it's acceptable. There aren't that many kids that would be riding the bus," Bostic said.
Beckett said that may be true at Sharon Dawes but he can't make an exception for just one school.