A mother of two Sampson County students said she was so frustrated with the way the county system selects bus stops she now takes her 6-year-old to school every morning.
“It began at the beginning of the school year,” said Michelle Green. “For the first week or so, the bus never even showed up, then after the second week, the regular bus driver came back and it got better with the times.”
Green said that her 6-year-old, who attends Salemburg Elementary School, started catching the bus around 6:40 a.m. every morning. However, the issue was that her son had to walk a quarter of a mile to get to the bus stop from her home and then wait all alone.
“We live on East Clinton Street in Roseboro,” she explained. “It is a dead end. So he has to walk all the way to Hall Street to catch that bus. He is all alone up there waiting on the bus early in the morning. So what I did was ask my neighbor if the school bus driver could turn around in his yard so my young son wouldn’t have to walk so far.”
The frustrating part, Green said, is that her 16-year-old daughter, who attends Lakewood High, catches her high school bus an hour later on the next street over, another dead end, but one the driver had been going down for the past two years.
That is until Green says she complained to Herb Sanderson, director of transportation for Sampson County Schools.
“I wanted to go through the right channels,” Green explained, “so I called him and even told him that I had already talked to my neighbor, who would allow the bus to make the turn on his property, and that the driver did it twice with no problem.”
However, it was short lived.
“Once I explained my situation to him and told him that we have had no issues over the past two years with my older daughter, the next week, the bus stopped picking her up down the dead end street,” Green said.”I went back to talk to my son’s driver, who had already did the turn twice, and she refused to do it again.”
That’s why Green said she pleaded her case to Sanderson.
“I tried to explain to him that once the time changes, both of my kids will be waiting out there in the pitch dark,”she said. “It was very frustrating.”
Not wanting to have a 6-year-old waiting alone at a bus stop a quarter-mile from his home, Green said she was felt she had no other option but to drive him to school.
“You know, I was really going to just let it all go and not make such a big deal out of it,” Green admitted, “that was until they stopped picking up my daughter on the next dead end road next to us. I am not going to let a 16-year-old girl stand alone in the dark … I felt that by doing that, it was him (Sanderson) retaliating against me because I complained.”
When contacted for comment Thursday, Sanderson said that since both roads were dead ends, the issue was not one of vengeance, it was one of safety.
“It is really a safety and a legal issue,” he said. “The roads there are much too dangerous and narrow to turn the buses around. We didn’t know about the other bus going down the dead end road, so when she notified us of it, it was a safety issue also.”
When officially measured, the distance from Green’s house is not a quarter of a mile, but 730 feet.
“We strive to provide safe, legal and efficient transportation to those that ride our school buses and from time to time, we can accommodate personal preferences for bus stops,” he said. “This one has power lines at the end of the dead end street. We cannot safely turn a bus around with the width of the road and maintain the safety of the children on that bus.”
Sanderson said 50 children ride the same bus in the mornings.
Although she has solved the issue by driving her son to school every morning, Green said that she knows she is not alone in her frustration with the buses.
“I just want to put it out there what happened to me,” she said. “Maybe some other people will step up and share their stories too; I don’t know. I am telling my story because I know others in the county are dealing with the same issues.”
Green said she is planning to attend a Sampson County Board of Education meeting to appeal to board members.
The next meeting is later this month.
To reach Doug Clark call 910-592-8137 ext. 123 or email to email@example.com.