Parents Seek Answers After Children Left Down Road From Bus Stop - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Parents Seek Answers After Children Left Down the Road From Bus Stop

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Kristen Faulk is the mother of a seven year old little girl who loves Hot Wheels and horses. Her mom says while she's mature for her age she's not an adult.

"So I certainly would not have left her to her own to try to walk home by herself," said Faulk.

But that's what a bus driver left students to do at the intersection of Oakenshaw Road and State Road 2301 when bad road conditions forced drivers to use alternate stops.

"If that's her duty to protect my child until she gets her safely home why did she drop that many children off when she only sees one vehicle sitting here," asked Faulk. "Nobody is waiting for these children and she knows where they live."

Just standing at the intersection Thursday afternoon several parents stopped to voice concerns. Theresa Knowles said the stop has always been Oakenshaw and Ruff road.

"They picked them up yesterday morning, but wouldn't drop em off yesterday afternoon," said Knowles.

For parents, kids getting dropped off at a bus stop on a 45 mile an hour highway mixed with a more than half a mile walk home is a recipe for disaster. One, they say, they should have been warned about.

"I mean we have a system in place to make this mass phone call, but yet it wasn't used," said Faulk.

"We are not supposed to go down a private roads," said Robert Downin, Director of Transportation for Bay District Schools.  

"We have two people calling parents constantly," said Downin. "Some of them we got a hold of, some of them their telephone numbers were disconnected, some of them we left on an answering machine, and some just didn't answer."

Downin says he and his Safety Director visited the roads in question and both agreed they were too dangerous for buses.

"We can't put our students in that kind of harm and so the decision was made to not go down private roads," said Downin. "So, we try to get them as close as we can to a location."

But close is not close enough for Faulk.

"We are talking six, seven, eight year olds," said Faulk. "I think there may have been a ten year old, but he also lives over a mile to his house.

"I said you are endangering our children leaving them to their own recognizance to be able to make it home."

"And that is not good," said Downin. "But I can't put another 30 to 40 kids in danger of getting stuck or getting hurt by going down a road that's not maintained."

Oakenshaw road is a privately maintained road.