An out-of-district family has filed a lawsuit against Arlington Heights Elementary District 25, claiming the district refuses to provide a safe bus stop for their son who attends a private school in Arlington Heights.
Robert and Anna Toczycki reside in Wheeling Elementary School District 21's boundaries, about 220 feet from District 25 boundaries and 250 feet from a District 25 school bus route, according to the lawsuit filed Tuesday in Cook County court.
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The suit contends that the bus stop where Toczycki's son currently is picked up is 0.6 miles from his home and his walk there "has serious safety hazards along its path, including crossing a 5-lane busy highway with no crossing guard and no traffic lights, as well as walking down two very narrow streets that have no sidewalks and no shoulders."
Their son attends St. James School, a Catholic school in District 25's boundaries, which the lawsuit says is the reason he should receive free, safe bus transportation through the district.
According to the suit, Robert Toczycki has asked District 25 eight different times to provide a bus stop for his son at a safer location, but his requests have been denied. Sarah Jerome, District 25 superintendent, was not available for comment Tuesday. At a school board meeting where Robert Toczycki spoke last month, school board President David Page said he could not comment because of the potential litigation against the district.
The lawsuit cites state statutes to say that "Arlington Heights District 25 has a responsibility to provide safe bus transportation without cost" and that by refusing Toczycki's requests and having him pay for the bus transportation, the district is violating those statutes.
The lawsuit claims state statute would allow District 25 to receive reimbursement from District 21 for the costs of busing the Toczyckis' son.
The lawsuit is asking that the Toczycki family be reimbursed for the past five years of travel expenses, which it contends total more than $2,500. The Toczyckis drove their son to school for the previous five years, but because of their work hours they had to start busing him this year.
Robert Toczycki, who works as a lawyer at Northwestern University, said he started asking the school district for a different bus stop at the beginning of the year, but after months of denials he decided to file suit.
The suit also asks for an injunction against District 25 requiring them to reroute the school bus to a safer, closer location to the Toczycki home.