COLUMBUS - A Clintonville mother says her son is being discriminated against, simply because he's too tall and thought to be too old.
She says her 12-year-old rides COTA daily. She says the driver challenges the 5’9” child’s age and legitimacy, when he tries to use his discounted pass meant for children 12 years and under.
“I recognize that he's taller than your average 12 year old,” said mother Nicole Kraft.
Kraft says her son Danny has been mistaken for older than a 7th grader before, but now she says it is causing problems with his daily life and the way he gets to and from school.
“I had a birth certificate and my principal printed out a sheet, with my student info, my picture, my birthday and what grade I'm in,” said Danny Kraft. “They said that doesn't work for them. They need a real ID.”
“I spoke with COTA yesterday. They suggested that he get a state issued ID. And I said that, unless you are going to require every 12 year old who gets on this bus to get a state issued ID, I think we need to start looking at the fact that you're discriminating against him because he's tall,” said Nicole Kraft.
The Krafts say they live exactly 1.9 miles away from school, which they say is too far to be able to walk, but – according to school policy - is too close to take the school bus. That is why they say Danny must take COTA.
“This battle of wills that we seem to be having with COTA that says they are trying to fight a 12-year-old's desire to come home feels like one of the absolute, it just feels like a violation,” said Nicole Kraft.
A violation, Kraft says she hopes she, her son, and any other student riding the bus, never has to feel again.
“We have no other options and we are at their absolute mercy for them to treat us as they wish to, and I wish that they would treat us a little bit better,” says Kraft.
COTA tells 10TV that its customer service department is aware of the issue.
A spokesperson says COTA is working to resolve it with the family, acknowledging the child is 12 and should be able to use the discounted bus pass.