RAYTOWN, Mo. — Jeni Lattie, of Raytown, says rules may be rules, but the safety of her five-year-old daughter, LaKiah, is something she’s willing to fight for.
“I want the school bus to be able to come here to our cul-de-sac and pick her up. I’ve cried over it, but now it’s more frustrating,” Lattie said.
Almost three years ago, Lattie was riding in a car on 71 Highway near 39th Street in Kansas City, Mo., when she got shot in the head during a drive-by shooting. Doctors were amazed Lattie survived.
“They didn’t think I was ever going to walk or talk again, and, it’s made it harder as a mom,” she said.
The 25-year-old single mother, who’s on disability, is now legally blind. Jeni and her daughter live close enough to Laurel Hills Elementary School that bus service isn’t available.
However, Lattie said she cannot safely walk her little girl the several blocks to school.
“I can only see what’s literally right in front of me,” she said. “My vision may completely go tomorrow. We never know. It’s gotten really bad in the past year.”
In recent weeks, she says she’s called the Raytown School District’s Superintendent and transportation offcials, but so far, she’s had no luck convincing the district to have a school bus ride by her home and pick up her daughter.
“I’d be willing to walk all the way up to the corner at East 54th Terrace and Dizzler, but I can’t go any farther than that,” Lattie told Fox 4′s Robert Townsend Tuesday during an interview.
“She can’t see down and if she steps on something and falls and she hits her head, there’s no saying if she’ll even survive that,” said Odus Lattie, the child’s grandfather.
Meanwhile, Cathy Allie, a spokesperson for Raytown Schools, says a student must live a mile and a half or more from a school in order to ride a school bus.
Allie says the district offered to pick up Lattie’s child at 55th and Elm Street. She says they also are willing to pair the girl with older children, who walk to school.
Still, Lattie says the Elm Street offer is several blocks away and she can’t drive.
“How can you pair a five-year-old with strangers? That wouldn’t be safe for LaKiah either,” Lattie said. “I just wish they would realize that it’s a special need of mine due to the crime. It’s not my fault I cannot walk my child to school.”
LaKiah’s grandfather says even though it’s been a strain on him, he will keep taking his granddaughter to and from school, while he and LaKiah’s mother hope district officials will have a change of heart.