LEWISVILLE, N.C. — The first day of school can be stressful for both students and parents; but imagine if your child’s bus stop was located just a few hundred feet from the home of a sex offender.
For one Lewisville mother, that’s what she says she’s been dealing with for years.
Jessica Manning has a daughter who is in second grade in the Winston-Salem Forsyth County School District. Manning says she’s been trying to get the bus stop
moved since her daughter was in kindergarten, because her daughter’s bus stop is less than 370 feet from the home of a man who was convicted of 3rd degree sexual exploitation of a minor. However, her requests and appeals, she says, keep getting denied.
“Just tried and tried and tried and it didn’t happen so, I don’t know, we’re just frustrated,” Manning said.
Theo Helm of Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools said they avoid putting bus stops directly in front of homes of sex offenders and try to prevent students from having to walk by said homes. They also take traffic flow into consideration. Student safety is the number one priority when it comes to planning bus stops, Helm said.
The sex offender registry currently lists 483 sex offenders in Forsyth County.
“Unfortunately, there are sex offenders throughout the county,” Helm said. “Uh, on this registry, and it’s just not possible to route around all of them.”
For Manning, the daily trips to the bus stop constantly have her on high alert.
“You have to watch every single second. And when they’re getting off the bus, if it comes early and I’m not there that’s just ridiculous that they wouldn’t change it,” Manning said.
Manning said her street has very little traffic and the solution to her problem is simple.
“Let her off right there, at the end of the driveway,” she said. “The bus drives right by it. Just open the door and I’ll be standing there.”
Helm said the school system has limited resources when it comes to buses, and sometimes they cannot afford to add bus stops.
Guilford County School officials said they have a similar policy when it comes to sex offenders near school buses. They submitted the following statement to FOX8:
“Guilford County Schools staff makes every effort to ensure bus stops are not located in front of the home of a registered sex offender. In addition, when we learn a student must walk past the residence of a registered sex offender to get to his or her bus stop, we attempt to assign that child to an alternate stop. Parents who have concerns about their students’ bus stop location should contact the transportation office for assistance.”
Helm says if a parent wishes to request a bus stop be moved, they should contact their school to file an appeal.