Some Union County parents say new bus stops are dangerous for students

Updated: Nov. 11, 2020 at 11:28 PM EST
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UNION COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - Some parents are frustrated after they say Union County Public Schools changed their children’s bus stops and now they’re being picked up and dropped off on busy roads.

The parents say it’s dangerous for their kids and they want it to change. Union County Public Schools says staff will continue to monitor stops and evaluate safety measures.

“My biggest concern is she’s going get hit by a car. I have one child, I don’t want anything to happen to my child," said Mary Schroeder who lives in Waxhaw.

She says for decades kids were picked up for the bus inside her gated community and it was never an issue.

She says now her sixth grader walks half a mile to the stop outside the neighborhood. But the busy road and speeding cars are what makes Schroeder nervous for her child’s safety.

“Cars coming over the hill this way. Slamming on those breaks. There’s been occasions where cars don’t even stop because the time they get over the hill, it’s too late," she said.

She said her daughter has even had to run onto the bus as a car was swerving around the bus illegally.

Schroder reached out to a UCPS board of education member about her concerns.

In those emails, the board member explained that the change to bus routes were mainly due to the fact UCPS is dealing with a major bus driver shortage. They said the district is down 53 drivers. It’s a problem many school districts are dealing with, including CMS schools and Lancaster County to name a few.

MORE: School bus driver shortage raises concerns in Lancaster County

“Everybody’s in a hurry, they don’t drive 45 mile per hour on that road," Schroeder said. "I don’t want something to happen before they make the decision to change the way it was.”

But she’s not the only one with concerns. Bryon Norris said his daughter’s bus stop was moved from inside their neighborhood. Now his daughter gets picked up on the side of Lancaster Highway, which has a speed limit of 50-plus mph.

“Their whole job is worrying about the safety of those kids. And what they’re not doing is worrying about the safety of my child. That’s what’s bothering me," he said.

Norris and Schroeder both spoke at a recent school board meeting, asking for bus stops to go back to normal.

“I’m very passionate about it because it is my daughter. If something were to happen to her...there’s nothing they can say to make it better.”

Union County Public Schools issued the following statement in response to the concerns:

“Each year, Union County Public Schools evaluates bus stops across the county. In many cases, routes and stops are adjusted based on several factors. Safety is and will remain a priority for the transportation department. Staff will continue to monitor stops and evaluate safety measures.”

WBTV News reached out to UCPS for an updated list of bus driver vacancies.

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