Jackson bus drivers warned against rolling stops

Thursday, April 26, 2007
Three Jackson school buses which had left the Gordonville Attendance Center were observed rolling through the stop sign at School Lane while turning right onto Route Z on Wednesday afternoon. (Fred Lynch)

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Jackson School District officials have advised school bus drivers to quit making rolling stops at rural intersections in Cape Girardeau County as a result of a recent complaint by a former Jackson school bus driver.

But in Gordonville, Mo., on Monday afternoon, several school buses maneuvered onto Route Z without halting at a stop sign. The buses are owned and operated by the Jackson School District.

A Southeast Missourian photographer shot video of six school buses exiting onto Route Z from a gravel road after picking up students at the Gordonville Attendance Center. Three of the buses failed to come to a complete stop, the Missourian video shows.

But Jackson schools superintendent Dr. Ron Anderson said he couldn't determine if the buses made rolling stops based on a telephone call from a reporter.

"I am not trying to judge it right now," he said late Wednesday afternoon.

Anderson said the gravel road, which connects to the Gordonville school, curves and slopes upward to meet Route Z. The line of sight is poor to the left of the junction, he said.

"It is a difficult spot because of the turn, because of the visibility to the left, and gravel and a little bit of a lip getting up to the road. It makes it tougher to maneuver," Anderson said.

But he said Jackson school officials recently reminded the bus drivers to obey all traffic laws including coming to a complete stop at stop signs.

Assistant superintendent James Welker said school officials did so in response to a complaint by a former Jackson school bus driver who videotaped several buses rolling through intersections last fall and this spring. The woman couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday.

School officials said the woman ceased working for the school district in October. School officials said they wouldn't discuss the circumstances of her departure because it involves a personnel matter.

KFVS television obtained the video and contacted Jackson school officials, Welker said.

Welker and Anderson viewed the video.

"The reported traffic violations involved at least four drivers," Welker said. "We have visited with the drivers. The drivers agree they need to stop, and that is the expectation."

Some of the rolling stops occurred in November, according to a date on the video, Welker said. Other instances occurred as recently as March, he said.

The violations occurred at several locations in the county including the Gordonville site and the junction of Highway 34 and Route U, Welker said.

Welker said the school district emphasizes safety when it comes to transporting students.

"We want our kids to be safe," Welker said. "It is a high priority. Our bus drivers want that."


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