Keeping Kids Safe from Predators at the Bus Stop
published on May 04, 2022 by Sonia Mastros
route optimization, route planning, School Bus Stop, Sex Offender, school bus routing software, School Bus Routing, school bus driver shortages, inefficient routes, outdated routes, inaccurate routes, route efficiency, state reporting, re-routing, bus shortages
Many states have laws that prevent registered sex offenders from living too close to schools and parks, but I am not aware of any that restricts their residence based on bus stop location. Given that suburban and rural America is splattered with bus stops, it is extremely likely that there are registered sex offenders that live near school bus stops. Registered sex offenders can move just like anyone else. When was the last time you checked for registered sex offenders near your child’s bus stop?
Are there registered sex offenders near my bus stop?
To determine if there is a registered sex offender near your bus stop, you can visit http://familywatchdog.us, enter your address, and you will see registered sex offenders displayed on a map.
Hopefully you have discovered that there are no registered sex offenders near you. Please remember to check this periodically because someone could move into your area at any time.
There are registered sex offenders near you, now what?
1. Learn what you can about the registered sex offender.
Not all sex offenders pose a threat to you or your children. People can get on the list for various reasons, some not involving children.
2. Do not approach them or attempt to aggravate the situation.
Registered sex offenders have rights too. If you aggravate or instigate a problem with a registered sex offender, you may find yourself on the wrong side of the law. This is not to say that you should ignore the situation, quite the opposite. You should constantly pay attention to it.
3. Chaperone your child to the bus stop each and every day.
While it may be inconvenient to chaperone your child, please consider the alternative or worst case situation. If your child shares a bus stop with other children, you may want to consider sharing the chaperone duties with other trusted parents.
4. Notify your school district and request that they move the bus stop.
Most transportation directors are reasonable people that truly have your child's safety as their top priority. If you alert them to the situation, they will likely accommodate your request to move the bus stop. There are, however, various reasons why bus stops cannot be moved so there are no guarantees.
5. Continue chaperoning your child to the bus stop even if the stop is moved.
Moving the bus stop may give you a false sense of security. Just because the bus stop is moved away from the registered sex offender, it will still be in the same neighborhood. You should continue escorting your child to the bus stop every day to deter any unwanted situations from occurring.
6. Learn about your school district’s policy regarding registered sex offenders.
Every school district is different. Some may not be aware of registered sex offenders. Some may be aware of them but choose not to do anything about it. Other districts may know about the situation but may not be able to notify students and parents about it. Do not guess about your school district's policy, ask.
7. Ask the transportation director about the software they use to route students.
Some school bus routing and scheduling software applications, like BusBoss, have functionality built in that alerts the user when there is a registered sex offender near an existing school bus stop. BusBoss is a school bus routing and transportation application that has this functionality built into it. The distance is configurable based on the offense and/or the individual. With BusBoss, students that live near a sex offender are treated in the same way as students that live on a hazardous road. When you allow the system to automate bus stop assignments or bus stop creations, a stop will be placed directly in front of the child’s house when they live near a sex offender.
If your transportation department is using BusBoss to route their students, but not using the registered sex offender functionality, they will not be alerted, and you could have a potential problem without knowing it.
We cannot protect our children from every possible harmful situation. As parents and adults, we have a responsibility to our children to protect them to the best of our abilities. The alternative is unbearable.
What do you think? This is understandably a very serious topic but worthy of discussion. Are there any steps your school district is taking to try to mitigate the dangers of nearby sex offenders? Let us know in the comments below.