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Jackson bus drivers warned against rolling stops

Thursday, April 26, 2007

(Photo)
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)
Watch the video

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."

mbliss@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 123


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I myself actually talked to Mr. Welker at the end of March at my school. He told me that that he was going to do whatever he could to make sure that the students were safe. It is now the end of April and the problems on my bus have done nothing but gotten worse. He apparently doen't want to do anything about the bus drivers or my busdriver would have been fired. I have written him a letter and still nothing. Jackson truely does not listen or take in to consideration what the students have to say.

-- Posted by Brugger on Thu, Apr 26, 2007, at 6:02 PM

I agree that bus drivers should not make rolling stops, but come on people. Is there that little in the news that we have to sensationalize school bus driving that has not caused any accidents and was recently nationally recognized for safety. Sure looked like the incidents occurred in busy areas. Sounds to me like Grandma Busdriver who got FIRED needs a job or a hobby, anything other to do than sit in the woods and tape school bus rides.

-- Posted by srnr2me on Thu, Apr 26, 2007, at 6:27 PM

I personally can not believe how uncaring the Jackson school is being on this. I really think the Southeast Missourian and KFVS TV has done a great job at covering this story. Why doesn't the school simply say "Yes we watched the video, we are outraged, and someone is going to be fired." Also where is the mighty Jackson Police force here? If it were my car on video running all thos sign day after day, they would come to my house and write me a stack of tickets. Who is going to be getting these tickets? Is anyone getting a ticket? Are they going to do anything about it at all? I'm quit sure that if there was a hippie sitting smoking a joint in his backyard, you would see 50 cops and a dog there within 10 minutes. Maybe if the Police weren't so busy fight a war on Hippies they could stop things like this. I'm happy someone got the drivers on video before a bus load of kids gets killed. Jackson schools need to do something. Take 12 minutes and watch the **** video, then take swift action. Don't just him-haw around the issue. Deal with it strong and firm. Come on kids lives are at stake here. Also who are these drivers? Do we even know anything about them at all? Why are they in such a rush? Do the have all have clean driving records? Is any one even checking on them? This is all the more reason I send my child to Cape School.

-- Posted by timexx on Thu, Apr 26, 2007, at 7:54 PM

One timexx, please tell me one time on the video footage that you saw a students life at stake. Just one please. Two I agree traffic laws should be followed but this is obviously a vendetta being brought out by a former disgruntled employee. I'm not aware of any incident at this intersection involving a Jackson School bus. Should there be disciplinary action? Perhaps, but this issue is being blown out of proportion. I'm sure if you put a camera at any stop sign in southeast Missouri you're going to witness many rolling stops. I'm sure this issue is going to be solved quickly as it should be. Out of all the issues around our state, that this has become such a headline is sad. Our media in the area is pretty timid when it comes to going to Cape city government on the crime and continous illegal activity on the Southeast side of the city. The paper intermentently does a story on the area but KFVS is ridiculous. There's enough stories on that side of town to do a whole weekly series. Some one rolling through a stop sign is not news people, that our police department and city govt. have not cracked down on the "ghetto side of town" is an untold story. It's the real hush hush issue everyone knows but no one talks about, come on missourian, let's see some tough questions asked.

-- Posted by Stroh's on Thu, Apr 26, 2007, at 10:36 PM

Yes Stroh's but maybe the fact that no one has been hurt is only luck. Watch the part where it is rainging and yet the bus still does not stop. This is just a game of Russian Roulette. It only takes the once, and you have dead children on your road. You say it is a "vendetta being brought out by a former disgruntled employee". Well didnt she say on the news that she was fired for makeing complants against the other drivers, because of this kind of thing? Looks like she has a point here. And its not like she only has one case, she has months worth of footage. Again a game of Russian Roulette. And all it takes is one speeding car or truck at the wrong moment. And BAM! Dead kids!

-- Posted by timexx on Thu, Apr 26, 2007, at 11:03 PM

Where's the Gordonville cop at? The Gordonville RFD PD at one time patroled that road like crazy handing out tickets right and left for speeding. Where is he at? Do they not have a cop anymore?

-- Posted by Rodney King on Fri, Apr 27, 2007, at 9:00 AM

I just recently viewed the video of the bus failing to stop at the stop sign. I wondered if anyone else has had a problem during early morning rush hour of school buses deliberately pulling out in front of other car drivers.I have several times had to stop very suddenly, with my kid in the car, to keep from hitting a bus in it's side.This to me(and should be to other drivers&parents)something that is just an accident waiting to happen.As for someone else who apparently does not think that this is news worthy, it would be if it involved one of your children on one of those buses.Buses ARE NOT exempt from the laws of the road.A stop sign is a stop sign and should mean the same thing to ALL DRIVERS, especially those that are carrying our most precious cargo, our children.I am glad that this was caught on video and that it made the headlines.Would if have made a difference to you if the video showed that the bus was full of children?If a school bus driver does not stop at a traffic sign when the bus is empty, will it make much difference to them if it is full of kids?In MY experience of driving during the early morning hour,the question is a resounding NO,not one bit!!Officials do not seem to want to do anything until it cost someone their lives, and then all of a sudden it becomes a SERIOUS issue.Well in my opinion, it is a SERIOUS ISSUE NOW!! ANYTHING that endangers the welfare of our children should not be regarded as a a "minor" detail. also, yes, several people do roll through stop signs EVERYDAY, but we are not putting our children in THEIR hands EVERYDAY expecting our children to get to school and home SAFELY!Who cares what the reason was for this ex-employee making a video of this? The point is, NOT if this person has a vendetta against the school, my question is what if anything is going to be done to INSURE that actions will be taken to implement safe driving from now on?

-- Posted by #58 on Fri, Apr 27, 2007, at 10:03 AM

More evidence of KFVS trying to stir up ****! One more reason to watch other local news programs. KFVS made it a personal crusade to attack and make a mountain out of a mole hill. I personally (and you do to) know of stop signs where is it safer to role thru and get momentum than to stop and actually place yourself in more danger. It was absolutely unnecessary and totally disgraceful to watch KFVS treat JHS like that have.

-- Posted by BigChiefRedhawk on Fri, Apr 27, 2007, at 11:26 AM

As a parent of a Jackson student, I am shocked and outraged by the conduct of the Jackson bus drivers. I am even more shocked and outraged by the lack of concern or care by the school officials. It is only by the grace of God that no one has been harmed, yet. Each of those buses carry at least 20 students at any given time, I believe the news estimated 3000 students ride the buses daily, not to mention the other drivers on those roads, lives are at stake every day and the district doesn't seem to care. Those bus drivers are acting irresponsibly and using poor judgement with our children and it is unacceptable. I would like to see immediate action taken on those drivers who chose to act in this manner, don't just "tell them to stop", hold them accountable, suspend them or fine them, but make them be take responsibility. Every other driver on the road must obey the laws of the road, so why shouldn't bus drivers? Bus drivers especially should follow the laws of the road. Most intersections have video cameras for the purpose of holding reckless drivers accountable, this video is no different. As for the school district officials, I am very disappointed in the response they have to this situation. I am now concerned for the safety of my child and the other children. I have always considered Jackson schools as good schools with good leaders and now I am not so sure. When I put my child on the bus to go to school I expect my child to be safe. Jackson schools have proven that is not the case.

-- Posted by Erin on Fri, Apr 27, 2007, at 12:05 PM

Some great comments here for Erin, Bugger, and Midwestgirl. I guess BigChiefRedhawk,srnr2m, and Stroh's would think it more news worthy if we had a body count.

-- Posted by timexx on Fri, Apr 27, 2007, at 2:35 PM

BigChief I agree that it's a mountain out of a molehill. I'm pretty sure this issue is being addressed. As I said if the district decides that certain drivers need to be disciplined I have no problem with it. The law is being broken and I have no arguments about it, but there's no doubt that the motivation behind this video is more of a disgruntled former employee than a concerned citizen. If you feel your children are in that much danger maybe you should look into escorting them yourself to and from school. If you see a bus weaving and out of traffic then please do complain, but this is a simple problem that could have easily been fixed with out such a needless uproar. Bodycount? If you're concerned with a bodycount watch how many people fly through red lights and roll through stop signs. Those people are not the ones carrying your children but they might be the one who hits the vehicle your children are being carried in whether it be a bus or the family cruiser. I have no arguement that the issue should be taken care of and the buses should stop along with the rest of us at every traffic signal and stop sign. End of story.

-- Posted by Stroh's on Fri, Apr 27, 2007, at 5:28 PM


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