To the family of Wendell Middle School student Keith Jones, I offer my condolences for their tragic loss. To West Lake Middle School student Michael Burgess, I send wishes for a full recovery. To both families, I offer an apology.
I am sorry this letter comes too late to draw attention to unsafe conditions created by changes made to WCPSS bus routes. While I applaud WCPSS efforts to improve efficiency, student safety should always be first priority. Bus stops have been moved off neighborhood streets to major roads, and walking distances to these stops increased.
Children are walking streets with more traffic and higher speed limits in pre-dawn darkness. In areas without sidewalks or streetlights, many children are walking and waiting along the edge of a busy road in the dark.
I ask that WCPSS review the placement of bus stops – considering factors such as time of day, sidewalks and streetlights – and make safety, rather than efficiency, the first priority.
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I urge parents of bus riders to notify WCPSS transportation if your children’s bus stops are unsafe. We have lost too many WCPSS students this year; please make changes to prevent further injury and loss of life.