Parents worry year-round Daylight Saving Time endangers students at bus stops

Local parents and some school advocates are pushing back on a proposal to move Florida into Daylight Saving Time permanently.

“It’s adding fuel to the fire and endangering children’s lives unnecessarily,” said Josephine Amato.

Amato, a mother of three Hillsborough County students, says children walking to school already have enough to worry about.

She showed ABC Action News a frequently traveled area students take to get that she believes is hazardous.

“In a drainage ditch, without a crosswalk, without lights, without a 4-foot path, all the way to Newsome High School and Randall Middle School.”

This year, in an effort to shave millions from the budget, Hillsborough district officials cut courtesy busing for students who live within two miles of their assigned school.

Now, there’s a renewed call by some parents to restore that transportation in light of a proposal on Gov. Rick Scott’s desk.

Florida lawmakers recently approved the Sunshine Protection Act, which would make Daylight Saving Time year-round in Florida.

That would mean the sun rises later, especially during the winter.

Supporters tout economic benefits for more daylight during evening hours. But parents we spoke with fear it will make mornings more dangerous for students.

“And children are walking in the dark, passed registered sex offenders,” said Amato.

In a statement to ABC Action News, Florida PTA expressed its opposition to the legislation, “We are concerned with the safety of our children traveling to school in darkness,” said Angie Gallo, Florida PTA legislation Chair. “If the Governor signs this bill and it is passed Congressionally then it would have our youngest children walking to school and waiting for the bus in the dark. There will be days during the winter months that sunrise won’t occur in South Florida until 8:15 or 8:20. This legislation will impact the majority of Florida’s students.”

If signed by Gov. Scott, the Sunshine Protection Act would need Congressional approval.