2010-12-16 / Letters

When Is Saftey An Isssue For School?

To The Editor:

For the last four months we have been trying to get a bus stop back to the way it has been for six years. On August 26 a bus driver for Bus 29 showed up late. He told my kids he was late because they would now be picked up heading southbound leaving Burnt Cabins instead of heading into the village in front of our home.

In 2004 I went to school to have it changed from southbound to northbound pickup in the mornings due to my daughter almost getting hit by a tractor-trailer driver. Superintendent Dr. Arnold did not give me any problems, and the stop was changed to northbound 522.

All these years, the stop has worked fine. The reason for the most recent bus stop change is an unsafe turnaround on Aughwick Road. In addition, the driver reportedly has kids not listening, which changing the bus stops to southbound will give him an extra 15-minute time frame when kids are not on the bus. Well, I was told there wouldn’t be any kids on the bus before the turnaround but I witnessed him making two stops before he makes the turn around. One might ask what makes sense here? Nothing was broken in my stop, and it doesn’t cost any more or less to have the kids picked up in the northbound lane.

I have gone before the school board four times to resolve this issue. The board feels it is safe for my kids to cross the roadway. There have been 44 accidents recorded on Route 522 to Burnt Cabins in the last four years. This is not to mention houses being hit by tractor-trailers. Annually more than 1,000 motorists do not obey the school bus stopping laws. The National Coalition for School Bus Safety reports that most fatal injuries occur outside the bus when kids are struck by another vehicle or the bus itself.

As a parent I have a choice to not allow my kids to cross the roadway. One has to question the liability of why the school board chooses to make the kids cross the road to the southbound lane. Why would they want to put my children in harm’s way instead of looking at the safety of entering and exiting a bus. I’m currently driving my kids to school because of bus-related bullying and crossing the road. I can’t afford to drive 96 miles a week to take them to school. It’s been suggested that the school wants to change our stop altogether to southern Huntingdon County, which is two miles out the road. The suggestion was made so that I don’t leave the school as an employee and charter school my children.

I don’t have all the answer to all this. I just know that I want my children to be safe, and we will do what it takes to accomplish that. Parents, please be aware for the safety of your children. I can’t control who is behind the wheel of passing vehicles, but I can control what I do as a parent. I’m not willing to sacrifice the life of any of my children because of someone else neglecting this issue.

Brad and Torrie Mellott Burnt Cabins Pa.

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