Seth Lemon and Thomas Kienzler
Avon Public Schools received almost a hundred complaints about potentially dangerous new bus stops from concerned parents. They have moved to address some.
The Avon Public School’s superintendent’s office has been inundated with complaints, all from parents who say the walk to their children's school bus stops is unsafe in morning traffic.
School officials visited each stop in question for safety inspections and now say the stops are safe.
“I don’t want my daughter walking on this road in the morning when everybody else is speeding,” said Heather Satlof.
Her daughter, Lilli, can catch the school bus just down the street from their house on Burnham Road. But Satlof says she’s concerned about her seventh grader walking down a road with no sidewalks and speeding cars.
“It’s not a convenience matter. That’s not it," said Satlof, who brought the issue to the superintendent's office. "It’s a safety matter."
Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Operations, John Spang, said school officials do visit the area or perform an inspection whenever possible.
Of the 94 complaints the superintendent’s office has received since the start of the school year, Spang said he, along with employees from bus company DATTCO and state-certified safety officials, visited all the bus stops brought into question.
Only 22 were changed.
“The bus stops are safe," Spang said. "They’ve been looked at closely by people who are expert in that area. Safety comes first at all times, and we believe we’ve achieved it.”
As for Satlof, her complaint led to change number 22. She said she got a call Wednesday morning letting her know that her daughter’s bus stop would be moved to the front of her house.
Satlof said she was grateful the superintendent’s office was willing to listen.
But her daughter's stop was only changed for the rest of this school year. Sprang said the school system is looking for a more permanent solution.
Spang said the bus stops have been consolidated in the interest of time, not due to budget cuts. Picking up clusters of students rather than making individual stops helps get them to school on time, something that’s been a problem in the past.
Some parents who voiced concerns were looking ahead to wintry weather.
Officials said they'll create additional stops to operate during inclement weather.