Entire neighborhood skipped by Huntsville school buses because of a dangerous road

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Wednesday morning, hundreds of Huntsville City School buses will leave the depot, pick up students from their neighborhoods, and take them to class, but not every neighborhood is included.

“I’ve moved my entire life, I’ve gone from state to state, never had an issue, not even when my parents were in the military," says Jessica Rissler, a concerned parent who lives in Inspiration on Green Mountain.

Of all the challenges Rissler and her husband have faced since moving to the neighborhood, they never would have guessed that getting their children to school would be their hardest challenge.

“I never for a second would have to think that a school bus coming to a neighborhood would be an issue, and I guess that’s what’s so frustrating for me," she says.

School buses aren't allowed up at Inspiration on Green Mountain. The problem has nothing to do with the neighborhood or students - it's the road itself. With a winding path and steep gradient, the state says Green Mountain Road is not safe for a school bus full of children.

Back in 2014, the Alabama Department of Education report on Green Mountain Road states emphatically, "The gradient of this hill poses serious safety concerns for any size school bus even in perfect weather conditions," and goes on to say that they "recommend that a school bus route not be established on this road."

The problem is, Jessica didn't know this before they moved, and the district doesn't have any bus route maps on their website to potentially warn them.

“It just seems like buses was one of those necessities that every student has the right to," says Rissler.

With both of the parents working on Redstone Arsenal, and two students to get to two different schools, they're facing an uphill battle just to get their own children to class.

“We don’t have the luxury to make our own schedules and just drive on a whim. That’s the last thing you think of as a taxpayer, is having a bus. You pay those taxes to have that bus," she says.

A spokesman for Huntsville City Schools says while they regret what position this puts families in the area, there's nothing they can do and they won't go against safety recommendations.

Jessica has now set her sights on the City of Huntsville.

“I think it’s the city’s chance to fix the road. If it’s that steep of a gradient, why are you allowing your city workers to risk their lives going up it?” asks Rissler.

She hasn't gotten much traction on that idea either, so in the meantime, they're relying on the kindness of strangers until they can figure out a plan.

“You know I believe every problem has a solution, it just takes people compromising and working together and not taking a no for an answer," she says.

Huntsville City Schools has requested the Alabama Department of Education to come back out and do another study of Green Mountain Road.

A spokesman for the district says state analysts have already come out to do the study, but they haven't gotten the results back yet.

Meanwhile, although Jessica is the main person who reached out to WHNT News 19, the issue impacts every home up on Green Mountain, and the area only continues to grow as the neighborhood expands.

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