Following Adalah petition: State says school bus stops will be built adjacent to schools in Naqab (Negev) villages

Adalah petition demanded school bus stops, related safety infrastructure to resolve numerous hazards children currently face on their way to and from school.

The Israel Education Ministry stated before Be'er Sheva District Court on 2 July 2017 that the state intends to fund the construction of safe school bus stops for children living in six Bedouin villages in the southern Naqab (Negev) region. The commitment was made in response to a petition filed by Adalah in January 2017 against the Education Ministry and the Neve Midbar and Al-Qasoum Regional Councils to demand that they construct the bus stops to allow schoolchildren to be picked up and dropped off safely.

 

Bedouin children walk to school in the Naqab desert region. (Photo by Adalah)

 

The ministry further stated that the construction of the bus stops would extend to related safety infrastructure, as Adalah demanded, including protective fences, sidewalks and pedestrian crossings, etc., to resolve numerous hazards that the children currently face on their way to and from school.

 

The petition was filed on behalf of parents of children who attend schools in the six villages: the unrecognized villages of Al-Zarnouq and Wadi al-Na’am, and the recognized but not fully-planned villages of Abu Tlul, Abu Qrinat, Umm Batin, and Kuhleh.

 

As Adalah argued in its petition, "Hundreds of school children currently gather at random locations close to main roads with no signs, sidewalks or shelters. The lack of bus stops poses a serious safety hazard that endangers the lives and physical wellbeing of these children … These conditions do not exist in schools in Jewish communities in the Naqab, where authorities take care to establish proper bus stops and to eliminate safety hazards. The failure to establish proper school bus stops [for the Bedouin community] creates a situation of blatant inequality in the enforcement of the law."

Regarding the two unrecognized villages of Al-Zarnouq and Wadi al-Na’am, the ministry affirmed that it would "cover the initial minimal budgetary expenses needed to provide a proper solution to ensure the students' safety."

 

As for the recognized villages, the ministry said it would cover the costs of constructing bus stops and associated safety infrastructure following receipt of a funding request from the Neve Midbar and Al-Qasoum Regional Councils, which are responsible for providing services to the residents of these villages.

 

The court scheduled a further hearing of the case on 10 September 2017 to monitor the implementation of the state's commitments.


 

Case Citation: Administrative Petition 59348-01-17, Salman Abu Qrinat et al. v. The Ministry of Education and Al-Qasoum and Neve Midbar Regional Councils