′Take a flashlight!′ Court rules against schoolgirl′s parents seeking free bus rides | News | DW | 16.05.2018
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'Take a flashlight!' Court rules against schoolgirl's parents seeking free bus rides

The parents have argued their child's route to school is dangerous because it is too dark. They demanded the town pay her bus fare, yet a court has decided that it must not. Judges suggested she be given a flashlight.

The Higher Administrative Court in Münster, Germany, has struck down a lower court decision over whether or not a city must pay the bus fare of a schoolchild. The case was originally brought by the parents of an eight-year-old girl who claimed the child's school route was dangerous because it was poorly lit.

The parents demanded the town of Wegberg, in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, cover the cost of the child's bus tickets. The city refused to cover the costs, so the case went before an administrative court in the city of Aachen. The lower court decided in favor of the parents, ordering Wegberg to cover the child's bus fare for the 2015/2016 school year. The city of Wegberg appealed the ruling.

Judges hearing the appeal in Münster said they could understand the parents' concerns, but that German law stipulates municipalities are only liable for covering the cost of bus fare if the child has to travel 2 kilometers (1.4 miles) or more to get to school. That was not the case in Wegberg. An exemption to that rule can be made if the route is especially dangerous. Judges found that not to be the case either.

In striking down the lower court's verdict, judges in Münster did, however, provide a possible solution for the parents: Buy the child a flashlight.   

Read more: Family policy becomes new German election battleground

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