ARVIN – Several dozen suspended and/or expelled Kern County students say they’re not getting an education because they can’t get a ride.
When students are kicked out of school, they’re directed to community learning centers, but most of them are in Bakersfield.
For some students who don’t live in the area, the trip is impossible so they’re not going to school anymore.
While most students are in school, 15-year-old Marcos Santoyo is at home, working with his mother in the garden.
Santoyo was expelled from Arvin High School in May after being accused of having an illegal substance on campus.
Since then, he hasn’t gone to school because he says he doesn’t have any way of getting to a continuation facility, more than 20 miles away.
“I don’t really have any options right now because we don’t have a ride to the other schools,” said Santoyo, a sophomore.
A spokesperson for the Kern County Superintendent of Schools said in a statement, they don’t provide transportation to community schools because funding isn’t available and it’s the family’s responsibility.
Dolores Huerta says many students like Santoyo, don’t attend school because they can’t get there.
“I’m talking particularly about the children in southern Kern County; Arvin, Lamont, Weedpatch area. They don’t have transportation to be able to get to the alternative schools and so pretty much what that means is there not going to school at all,” said Huerta.
She says students not going to school affects the entire community.
“Think of these young people, that their lives are destroyed. I mean, if they don’t have a proper education that means they can’t get proper employment. What does that mean about their future? We cannot stand for this. We cannot have our kids be throw away kids,” said Huerta.