By Jay Clark
Henry High Hmong students are asking the Minneapolis School Board to keep their school buses this fall.
On June 12, Henry High Hmong students went to the Minneapolis school board meeting and asked that the Go-To mass transit bus card be optional for the 2012-2013 school year at Henry, with school bus rides available.
In late April, the Minneapolis school system announced that the Henry High school buses would be eliminated in the fall, and eligible students needing transportation would be forced to take city buses, using the Go-To card.
Many Henry Hmong families have expressed both worry for the safety of their children on city buses, and anger that the school system never asked for feedback or ideas from the Henry Hmong families.
Hmong students and families have proposed instituting the city bus Go-To card as an option this fall at Henry, with school bus rides available. The school system then has the time to communicate with and listen to the Hmong families, and if some Henry students use the city buses with no problems, then it could help reassure the Hmong families that riding the city buses can be safe.
Gary Vang, who just completed 10th grade at Henry High, testified at the Minneapolis school board meeting. He said that he likes going to Henry High, he feels close to many of the staff, and his friends to go Henry. He especially likes his world history class, and he has joined the math team and the debate team.
But Gary said that his family is concerned about his safety using city buses, and his mother has chosen a charter school that offers school bus rides to transfer him and all his seven brothers and sisters that currently attend Minneapolis public schools. He hopes that this fall Henry high institutes the Go-To card as an option, with school buses available , so he can stay and graduate from Henry High.
Since MPS announced the termination of school buses at Henry, Hmong students and families have collected more than 1100 postcards: met with school board members Monserrate and Ellison: sent letters to all the school board members testified to the Minneapolis school board and gone on Hmong radio.