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No sidewalks, no streetlights, no safety -- Parents spell out objections to bus stops

 

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Most parents speaking at a concerned citizens meeting Tuesday related similar lists of objections to the new bus stops used by the school system: The centralized stops require children as young as kindergarten to walk by themselves on  roads with no street lights or sidewalks, facing the dangers of traffic, sexual predators and wildlife.

Between 50 and 60 parents turned out for the meeting to voice their fears that the new bus stops are dangerous. As promised by lead organizer Willie Prather, everyone was allowed to speak as long as they wanted with the meeting running well past two hours as parent after parent told of their specific complaints to the new stops instituted this school year. Prior to this year, the school buses in Pickens County essentially ran “door-to-door” service. School faculty say combining bus stops, staggering school start times so that some drivers run two routes will save $120,000 this year, by eliminating some driver positions and buses.

School board chairman Wendy Lowe and vice-chair Byron Long attended the meeting, both addressing the group. Commissioner Rob Jones and Sheriff Donnie Craig were also on hand to hear from the citizens, although neither has any direct involvement in school transportation.

 

See updates on this story, parent comments and school board response in this week’s print edition.

 

 

Comments   

ALICIA HUGHES
+13 #1 ALICIA HUGHES 2011-08-25 17:20
We dont get the paper at our house, and I wasnt aware of a meeting. But I have called transportation about my concerns, my kids bus is expected to turn around ON Yellow Creek Rd., in a turn lane. Thats absurd. Its not an inconvenience for me to get my kids to a bus stop, its that the stop is HIGHLY unsafe, in the dark area of Yellow Creek Road that its located at. Im all for the county saving $$ maybe the meeting will generate some suggestions as to better the plan.
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Elizabeth Cornett
+7 #2 Elizabeth Cornett 2011-08-30 12:03
We too have safety issues at our new revised stop. 18-wheelers, no street lights, wild animals. I am not convinced that the school system went thru the proper channels to implement these revised routes. The safety of our children is being put at risk, all for the almight dollar. Buses came down Old Whitestone Road West for 14 years and now we are told NO, so many irrational reasons. I will continue to fight for the safety of the children in this county.
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Adam Stein
-5 #3 Adam Stein 2011-08-30 21:34
I had to walk a mile to my bus stop when I was a child. It was dark, there were tons of cars, and sexual predators were on the loose. Somehow, I'm not entirely sure, I made it safely to the bus and then to school. I then had to do the reverse and walk back home when the bus dropped me off! How absurd! I'm still not sure how I survived to this day. Maybe it was the awesome parenting that I received from my parents that prepared me for such a dangerous world. I mean what is this world coming to? We now have to subject our children to walking on a street without sidewalk? Do parents have to actually parent and teach their children how to keep themselves safe on their own without us being there to tell them it's ok? I blame Obama!
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Debbie Murphy
+3 #4 Debbie Murphy 2011-08-31 15:33
Although I live in a subdivision and not on a rural road, we also have safety issues with the bus stop where my child has to catch the bus - no sidewalks, bad intersection, dark area, etc. Like others, I have complained and voiced my concerns with the transportation department. I might as well have been talking to a wall for the good it has done. It is sad to know that the school system cares more for the mighty dollar than they do the safety of our children.
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Stopthemadness
+4 #5 Stopthemadness 2011-09-01 00:24
Well to be sure I have made several phone calls to the school board and the transportation department for the school because my six year old is expected to walk a road with no street lights at 6:15 in the morning to a dark corner where cars are flying by at over 50 miles and hour. What's more the street light on the corner these ten children have to stand at is not lit in anyway shape or form. I actually called the electric company on Friday and had them bill me for the light on the corner. I made this call Friday morning and today they finally sent a truck out. The school district had the nerve to say they won't drive another 50 to 100 feet because I live in a private subdivision. Fact of the matter they say it was to comply with state policy. Never once has this district been concerned with state policy.
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Sabrina
+3 #6 Sabrina 2011-09-07 03:17
Well we hav ethe same concerns as well. Also the fact that cutting bus drivers lengthens routes bothers me a great deal. My sons are on the bus over an hour each ways. As am sure a lot of other kids are. This might not have been so bad if they a/c However I spoke with the bus driver and her inside temp read 107 for a week straight in August. Also I have a special needs child who is also on the bus over an hour and for him is nearly impossible. He is having a really hard time with it. I will probably end up having to take him and pick him up across the county since all special ed elementary have been moved to one school. I guess they will be happy with that it will save them gas.
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advocate
+3 #7 advocate 2011-09-08 12:41
StoptheMadness
Ask for a copy of the State policy.

Sabrina
A special education student has the right to be educated in the school they would attend if they did not have a disability. Consolidating programs can be good for budgets but not always the students.
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