Published October 19, 2011
Andrew DiMarzio just wants to ride the bus with his tenor saxophone, but the 12-year-old Massachusetts boy claims he's been told to cut the music or get another ride, so to speak.
Cathy DiMarzio, of Raynham, said her son recently was told that his 31-inch-long, 12-inch-wide saxophone case would no longer be allowed on Bus 9 within the Bridgewater-Raynham Regional School District because the bus is filled to capacity and the instrument creates a safety hazard.
But DiMarzio claims the case, which fits under the seat, is no bigger than a large backpack, and other students are allowed to carry athletic equipment or other gear onto the bus. And since she leaves for work every day before her son, DiMarzio has had to make other arrangements three times a week to get Andrew to band practice.
"I either have to quit my job if I want him in band or he has to give up band. That's not feasible," she told FoxNews.com. "I don't see why they can't bring another bus down here. I am willing to work with them, but they're clearly not willing to work with me. He's not a problem child -- he's trying to do good things here."
Messages seeking comment from Lucini Bus Line, which operates the school buses, were not returned on Wednesday. Multiple calls to school officials at Raynham Middle School, including Principal David Thomson, were not returned.
Andrew, a sixth-grader at Raynham Middle School, has been playing the tenor sax for more than a year and has recently begun practicing with the marching band at Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High School, his mother said.
"My feeling is he's being targeted, for what reason, I don't know," she continued. "He's a good all-around kid."
DiMarzio said she was told by officials at the bus company and at Andrew's school that no instruments larger than a flute or clarinet are allowed on the bus since it's at capacity. She has not seen that policy in writing, she said.
The Bridgewater-Raynham Regional School District refunded DiMarzio's $225 fee for her son to ride the bus to school last week, but that wasn't the resolution she had sought. Superintendent Jacqueline Forbes, who could not be reached for comment on Wednesday, told the Taunton Daily Gazette that the instrument "cannot fit" and characterized the situation as unfortunate.
Pat Riley, chairwoman of the district's school committee, told the newspaper that school officials have considered several scenarios to accommodate Andrew, including storing the instrument at school.
But DiMarzio said that potential solution won't work since her son needs to practice at home.
"Kids are born with baggage, let's face it," she said. "They have stuff, they need stuff with them. My son is being denied a proper education."