Fighting for safety of children with Mecklenburg County bus transportation
Posted in the Mecklenburg County Forum
#1 Feb 17, 2011
Horrible what a parent has to go through with this school system
Clarksville Elementary School
Attn: Ann Dalton, Principal
1696 Noblin Farm Road
Clarksville, VA 23927
cc: James Thornton, Superintendent Mecklenburg County Schools
Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent, Virginia Board of Education
Virginia DOT South Hill Division
My children have been riding the public school bus since 2005, and never have we had an issue with the bus route. Previous bus drivers respected the fact that we do not want our small children to cross the street on a secondary road that is quite busy at times, stand in a ditch that can be muddy and is currently filled with leaves and trash, nor be in jeopardy of being snake bitten during warm months. As a parent, this is a huge concern for me that the school system will actually allow a child’s safety to be endangered just to ride the school bus.
The new bus driver, Mrs. Newton, continues to enter New Liberty Church Road from the first entrance instead of the second entrance of the loop that would prevent children from having to stand in a ditch by a wooded area but be on the same side as all the driveways to residences on this street. I expressed this to Mrs. Newton on Monday, February 14, 2011 who explained that she had permission from Mr. Dwight Elam to do so. I contacted Mr. Elam the same morning, and he stated that he would look at the area. The following morning, Mrs. Newton again took the same entrance. I heatedly explained my opposition to this sudden change that no one is taking seriously. I called Mr. Elam again, and he stated he would come out the same day. Since I would be at work, I let him know he could contact my mother living next door, who had also called as she has small foster children riding the same bus. This morning the driver again took the same entrance.
Therefore, this letter will serve as notice that my children, Tajean Dixon and Donald Dixon II, will no longer ride Bus # 56 as long as this continues. I refuse to put my children’s safety in jeopardy for an unnecessary change. Understandably, there is a quick stop now once the bus reenters the highway since my aunt has custody of her grandson, but we offered to have him get on the bus at either my mom’s stop or mine. Even so, no other bus drivers (not even the high school’s bus drivers) have had an issue with having enough time to turn on flashing lights. There has been three other bus drivers prior to her over the years, and this is the FIRST time this issue has come up. If there were a private school, I would quickly enroll my children there, and they could take there perfect SOL scores, county awards, and high honors for academics to another school. True, it benefits them to attain good grades and awards (which is why I push them), but it definitely benefits Clarksville Elementary as well-as we all are aware of.
Until this matter is resolved in a manner that will not put my children’s safety in jeopardy, I will be dropping my kids off each morning on my way to work and picking them up on my return home from work. Unfortunately, in order to arrive to work on time, they will be arriving to school approximately 7:45 AM. My schedule varies depending on what classes and times I am teaching, but for now I work until 4:00 PM today and Mondays and Wednesday afternoons through March 14, 2011. This means I will not be available to pick them up until 4:15 – 4:30 PM.
Since I have not been able to reach a resolution with the local school administration, I am also faxing this letter to Mecklenburg County Public School, Virginia Board of Education, and the Virginia Department of Transportation as this secondary road has residences, a church and public cemetery, current construction site, as well as business in operation and generating traffic. I am currently looking into whether this school can be held liable in court for any accidents, incidents, etc. since they continue to endanger my children.
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