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Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015

Speak Out 5/1/07

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Bus danger

SO JACKSON School District administrators knew back in December that a woman was filming the buses? One administrator claims what she was doing was a danger to students. What was she doing that was a danger to our children? What did officials do about it?

Speak your mind

SPEAK OUT callers say we need a public hearing on the ouster of Frank Ellis. Why not go to school board meetings and speak your mind? The meetings are open to the public. Other callers are threatening to vote board members out of office. Voters have the shortest memories on record. Look at all the recent uproar in Jackson. The voters resoundingly kept the same people on the board despite calling for the need for new people.

Properly concerned

READERS SAY they are ashamed to say Sheryl Crow is from Southeast Missouri because of her stand on global-warming issues. I am not a fan of Crow's, but she seems to be concerned for the Earth and those around her.

Left behind

TEACHERS ARE complaining about No Child Left Behind. What about a country left behind? Wages are down, health care coverage is declining, manufacturing jobs are disappearing, poverty is up, infant mortality is going up, school systems are failing, the middle class is disappearing and this government keeps giving to the corporations. One area doing well: Corporate profits are at an all-time high, but then they would be if employers don't have to pay decent wages, provide health care and move the jobs to $1-an-hour countries.

Not telling the truth

PAT TILLMAN was killed by friendly fire. My cousin was killed by friendly fire in Vietnam. The family was told this up front and issued a formal apology. President Johnson was no better than President Bush. He lied to advance the war in Vietnam. But the Bush administration has told so many lies, it doesn't know the truth anymore.

Bus for religion class

THE LEOPOLD School District uses the school buses to run one hour early to pick up children for church and religion classes before school starts. This is a public school bus. You can't use it to pick up children for church and religion classes. This is another law the district is breaking.

Bus safety

AS A parent of a Jackson student, I am shocked and outraged by the conduct of the Jackson School District bus drivers. I am even more shocked and outraged by the lack of concern by the school officials. It is only by the grace of God that no one has been harmed yet. Those bus drivers are acting irresponsibly and using poor judgment with our children, and it is unacceptable. I would like to see immediate action taken against those drivers who chose to act in this manner, 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.

Doing their jobs

I HAVE been reading in Speak Out here about the Scott County prosecutor and sheriff not doing a good job because these high-profile cases are dismissed. It is not their fault that the charges were filed and later dismissed. There was enough probable cause to charge former sheriff Bill Ferrell and officer Daniel Ayers. People make false allegations all the time to and about the police. I agree these women should be charged for making a false police report, but do not blame Sheriff Walter or Paul Boyd. These men were only doing their jobs. Anyone would have done the same thing in their shoes.

Better materials

REGARDING THE "Using carbon" comment: What the caller was describing was a carbon arc light, invented in the 1800s. We have much better electrode materials now than carbon, ceramic for example, and they do not burn up like carbon will. What could be done though is instead of burning fossil fuels, use them in gasifiers to increase the usable energy per pound of fuel. You can even run a car off of gas produced by wood.

Paying Social Security

OF COURSE the president and members of Congress pay into Social Security. Prior to 1984 they did not and were covered by a different retirement plan. Members of Congress in 1984 were allowed to remain in the old plan but still had to contribute to Social Security. Just because an e-mail is forwarded to you does not mean it is accurate.

Replacing services

ARCHBISHOP RAYMOND Burke and others bash Planned Parenthood, but none of them offer consistent alternatives for women across the state to find necessary medical care. Is the Catholic church going to set up clinics to replace the other services Planned Parenthood provides? This is yet another way the leaders of the Catholic church show how little they care for women and children.

Archery season

IF YOU want to do something for the deer in Cape Girardeau, encourage the city council to authorize archery deer hunting within the city limits. The end of a deer's life can be quick at the hands of a skilled hunter or prolonged and brutal off the bumper of an SUV. I wonder how many auto-deer collisions there were in the city limits last year.

Ready to collect

"I WILL bet you the best dinner in the gaslight district of San Diego that military action will not last more than a week." Quote from Bill O'Reilly, Fox News , Jan. 29, 2003. I wonder who I talk to to collect?

Bad seeds in school

BAD SEEDS who rarely pull themselves up by the bootstraps in schools usually do so at great expense to those eager to learn, and are often kept in school so as to keep state funding at the highest level.

Less medieval

THANK YOU, Sheryl Crow, for speaking out about environmental concerns and making Southeast Missouri appear less medieval.

Fact Check
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My dad is a driver for the Jackson School district, and I am quite outraged at the amount of misinformation going around regarding the recent articles.

First of all, I would like to give them a nice congratulations not only for placing first in our district at this year's Bus Rodeo, but also for being ranked as one of the Top 10 Bus Fleets in America, as articled in Bus Fleet Magazine's annual report. This ranking was given to our drivers for their high rankings (often 100%) for several years in a row and for their handling of rural roads. Apparently none of the recent articles on KFVS or the Missourian decided to mention that ranking in their assessment of the stop signs.

As for the violation, does no one think it is odd that so many drivers were doing this at the same intersections? There was a reason, largely due to limited visibility from both sides of the road, as well as coming off a gravel county road. The buses they are driving are large, slow-to-accelerate, and extremely uneasy to turn. This is one situation where traffic laws meant for general traffic become more dangerous when driving a bus weighing several tons.

When the drivers cannot see oncoming traffic, that also means oncoming traffic cannot see the bus coming onto the highway. It's not uncommon for a bus' tires to spin out on the gravel after coming to a complete stop. These drivers are not stopping because it ensures they can get out onto the highway and up to speed without being stalled or slowed in the middle of the highway with oncoming traffic coming over the hills on either side. The last thing a parent should want in this situation is for a bus to come to a complete stop and then take several more seconds than usual to get out onto the highway. In fact, not long after the article was posted, a situation almost exactly as I describe almost happened with the bus' back tires spinning out on the gravel after coming to a complete stop and traffic oncoming from both directions.

You should be thankful for the wonderful bus drivers you have in the Jackson School District. Rather than listening to a disgruntled driver who was fired for her violations, you should put your trust in the drivers who have won several awards both past and current for their ability to think of what is safest for the kids on board.

-- Posted by Weszor on Tue, May 1, 2007, at 12:40 AM

The point remains that we have laws in place that must be obeyed. If we say it is ok for the bus drivers to break the law for whatever reason, then we have to let everyone break the law. The video showed one driver running past a stop sign without even slowing down. There is no excuse for that. I don't like all the laws, but at least I obey them.

-- Posted by nurseboy on Tue, May 1, 2007, at 7:04 AM

Sheryl Crow is an opportunistic celebrity. Being anti-capitalist is good for her career but not necessarily good for the country.

-- Posted by stevmo on Tue, May 1, 2007, at 8:00 AM

Give Sheryl Crow some credit for what she does for her hometown. I disagree with her politics but admire her generosity.

-- Posted by bobby62914 on Tue, May 1, 2007, at 10:50 AM


There is an excuse, which I just explained in detail: buses coming to a complete stop at that intersection often end up dragging their tires when trying to accelerate. This creates a more dangerous situation than rolling the stops because they will get stalled in the middle of the highway where oncoming traffic cannot see them.

Also, the idea that we would have to allow "everyone" to break the law is preposterous and a strawman argument at best. "Everyone" driving does not require a special drivers license and "everyone" does not all ready have their own list of specific laws regarding their operation. Once again, the laws of common traffic become much different when operating a bus, which is why they all ready have so many additional laws of their own to follow.

I am not in the mindset of "rules are meant to be broken," but it is important as citizens to be able to question laws in certain circumstances and ask whether or not they truly have our safety in mind. The answer in this case is quite obviously "no." The words we have on paper blanket every stop sign, regardless of where they are placed or who is driving. They do not take into account that buses are much larger than cars, and thus much slower. They do not take into account the road being comprised of very loose gravel.

I'm sorry, but this is not speculation at all. These drivers aren't rolling because situations "might" happen. They're rolling because in their years of experience, the tires do drag, and they have had dangerous situations because of it.

Go about with the whole "all laws must be followed regardless" all you want. I am much more willing to place my safety into the hands of those with years of experience and knowledge of this situation over a bunch of cold, uncaring words on paper.

-- Posted by Weszor on Tue, May 1, 2007, at 1:03 PM

Just because this bus driver has been fired, doesn't make her disgruntled and wrong. If you can't acknowledge this visual evidence of wrongdoing than there is little hope. People wil continue to break the law, only if we allow it to happen and we don't say anything. That is how people get away with selling drugs on street corners in broad daylight. Regardless of how constricted the view is of oncoming traffic, all vehicles should stop. If it were meant otherwise, it would say Stop (but only for cars and small trucks). I commend KFVS and the woman who taped this. I believe they truly care for our children.

-- Posted by cabat on Tue, May 1, 2007, at 1:21 PM

NO excuse for not leading by example. Fix the problem or everyone will rationalize their own behavior to fit their circumstances.

-- Posted by IonU on Tue, May 1, 2007, at 2:12 PM

Wait, did you honestly just equate bus drivers rolling a bad stop sign with selling drugs on the street corner? That has to be one of the most ridiculous comparisons I have ever seen or heard.

And, yes, the driver who was fired is doing this for her own personal vendetta. I can tell you that without a shadow of a doubt.

Obviously, you know nothing about the regulations and laws that are specialized just for bus drivers. They all ready have many instances where they control the rules of traffic, including at railroad crossings and when they are letting kids off (they can report you for passing if they have their sign out). This is simply another instance where the drivers have more knowledge of the situation than some backseat drivers and some words written hundreds of miles away meant to cover everyone.

Here are the facts, plain and simple: you will not find a more safety-oriented bus fleet than the drivers in the Jackson School District. That is why they have received top marks for the past decade, repeatedly place in the top ranks at competition, and have been nationally recognized for their ability to handle difficult county roads at all seasons.

Another fact: the driver who originally taped this violation was herself fired from the district for several violations, including property damage, during her tenure, which gives her motivation for trying to "expose" others out of revenge.

Another fact: The violations are being done by several drivers at very specific intersections. If this were the case of drivers not doing their job well or not keeping safety in mind, we would clearly see violations from very few drivers in repeated instances at various locations. This would logically mean that the drivers had agreed on a specific action for these intersections for a reason.

Fact: The buses are slow to pick up speed, and their tires often spin out on the gravel when trying to accelerate after stopping completely. The roadway is limited visibility on both sides. A bus is much longer and heavier than a normal car and will take longer to get onto the highway after stopping. The longer a vehicle stays stuck on a roadway with limited visibility, the greater the chances of another vehicle coming over the hill and hitting it.

These are facts with only one instance of assumption (the drivers agreeing upon a specific action). Clearly, with these in mind, the buses are taking the proper procedures from the standpoint of the children's safety, even if it means violating a common traffic law. Anyone who is arguing that they "obey the law" does not have the safety of their children in mind, and I'm quite appalled at the inability to be able to question a law for the sake of children's health. I am also willing to place a large bet that these said people have also never spoken with these drivers in person, do not have children that ride buses in the district, or otherwise simply leave them to the bus without taking an interest until something controversial pops up.

-- Posted by Weszor on Tue, May 1, 2007, at 2:33 PM

Also, to clear things up and keep this civil, I wholly believe that this is a situation that can be resolved with relative ease. After reading the Missourian today (I used to work there, after all), I read about the plan to approve paving of county roads.

I believe this would be the perfect opportunity to clear this problem up and keep everybody happy. The largest reason for the rolling stops is the gravel road they are coming off of. If you want to keep this from happening, the best and most logical way to solve this issue is to get that intersection paved. This would eliminate the need to keep up speed throughout the stop and allow the bus drivers more leniency. It would not require a great deal of paving, no more than the length of the bus from the stop sign into the county road.

-- Posted by Weszor on Tue, May 1, 2007, at 3:10 PM

I am so glad someone explained how buses need to roll off the gravel on a incline to be able to make it onto the hightway.. as a retired bus driver we have to take into account on the handling of the bus and how much has to move up onto a highway and if our speed is slow we become the target of the driver of a car or truck and its not their fault as we are slow as snails and need all the help we can get to keep us and the others safe most drivers get to the point that those are "our kids" we love them and look out the besst we can...

-- Posted by preachergrandma on Tue, May 1, 2007, at 3:42 PM

Sorry, Weszor, but you are obviously biased. If drivers felt they could not obey the law due to the road conditions, they should have reported this to their supervisor and see if she could request from the county that something be done. You're grasping at straws here. I've driven a school bus on a rural route, so I know what I'm talking about, too. They don't just run the stop signs at the place you're referring to, either. I've seen Jackson bus drivers run, not roll, through stop signs onto Hwy 72/Jackson Blvd. by the high school. The line starts pulling out and they all just keep going. They do this other places as well. I've witnessed it and so have others. I have called Carol Wood and told her that I was worried about this and she told me she'd take care of it. The practice continued, so I called the administrative offices and was politely brushed off. I applaud Kathy Sweeney and the ex bus driver for bringing this to the attention of the public. Sorry, Weszor, but your attempts at excusing this illegal behavior just don't cut it.

-- Posted by SEMOfan80 on Tue, May 1, 2007, at 5:33 PM

Wezor: You describe a complex safety situation that needs to be addressed by means other than running a stop sign. Otherwise you sound like Jeffery Skilling and such folks that think the law is for everyone but them. The district should put an immediate halt to this behavior. Otherwise they maybe paying a lot of money to the parents of injured children. You sound like one of those people who never wear a seatbelt.

If you were being beaten with a club would you want the person to stop or just slow down.

-- Posted by IonU on Tue, May 1, 2007, at 6:05 PM

Yes, I do wear my seatbelt and have for as long as I have been driving, and that does not have anything to do with this debate. If you honestly want to try to make personal jabs at my character instead of providing your points, then kindly leave this comment box because it's apparent you can't handle a logical debate with reasoning and facts. Also, once again, a comparison between rolling a stop sign and being beaten with a club makes absolutely no sense and has little relation to what we're talking about. Also, how am I grasping at straws when I am the only one here who has explained the situation in depth and detail?

I'm sorry, ILIC and SEMOfan, but neither of you has presented a clear case where stopping in this situation would be preferable. The only argument in opposition is that "it's the law," which, as I have all ready stated, is a strawman at best given the circumstances. Read my previous posts and feel free to counter my points. I can understand that SEMOfan has driven before, so where is you knowledge about the specific intersections in question? I am not debating the other violations you mentioned, because I have no information regarding them. I do, however, speak with my dad frequently about this situation and the dangers involved.

No, they are putting the kids first in this case because The Mighty Law is quite obviously and logically more dangerous at these intersections. I even stated how an accident almost occurred less than a week ago because a bus dragged after coming to a stop. Please feel free to explain to me how stopping and then spending more time stuck in the middle of a dangerous highway will put the kids' safety in mind, and please don't resort to calling out "obey the law," because that doesn't offer an explanation with examples and specifics.

The district will be paying a lot of money when a bus because it dragged on the gravel since the road is not yet paved. Until it is, the drivers are most assuredly putting their childrens' interest in mind, and so far, no opposing their actions has offered a reasonable explanation of their viewpoint. Do that, and I will listen. Keep shouting about the law without explaining how it is safer, and you may as well stop this debate because you are just repeating one line over and over.

This has nothing to do with whether or not the violations happened. The videos show that. My point is that the violations were done for a reason because it is safer than the alternative, and I have yet to see anyone try to counter that point.

-- Posted by Weszor on Tue, May 1, 2007, at 6:26 PM

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