CARY, N.C. (WTVD) -- There's a new policy on walking to school in Wake County.
That policy states that families who elect not to use school system transportation -- when it's provided -- are solely responsible for the safe passage of students to and from school.
Board policy 6327 is known as the "Walking to and from School Policy."
The Wake County school board put the item on Tuesday night's agenda as a "consent item," meaning it has been cleared to move to the next part of the process.
Under the policy, students of all ages can walk, bike, or use another form of transportation other than a motor vehicle to get to school without being accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Here's the catch: This also means that students cannot walk unaccompanied unless a parent or guardian signs off on it.
School administrators can still make recommendations such as kindergartners and first-graders to walk with an adult or an older sibling. However, the choice of how that student gets to and from school is up to the parent or guardian.
The board suggests that all parents follow the recommendation of school administrators.
Why is this happening? District officials say this made the process of notifying parents consistent across the district -- and to ensure that if a student walks to and from school without an adult or older sibling -- it is at the permission of the parent or guardian.
Given the district's ongoing bus-driver shortage, it may also alleviate the crunch WCPSS faces in having enough buses operational to meet the needs of all the students in the state's largest district.
The plan was presented at the June 20 and Aug. 29 Policy Committee meetings and approved on first reading at the Sept. 19 Board meeting.