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Washington Township School District responds to parents, students concerned about bus stop safety

A picture of a Washington Township school bus. (Photo aired on WISH-TV)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Parents in the Sandy Point Condo Community are raising concerns over what they call two dangerous bus stops and a lack of communication from the Washington Township school district.

Nicole Streza and Kim Graves are concerned that the original bus stop on a sharp curve on 79th Street and the new one down 79th are too dangerous for high school students.

When their students started the school year on Aug. 3 they were required to stand at the entrance to their condo complex, which is on a curve on 79th Street. The women say this is a dangerous corner where cars frequently speed and lose control.

“They miss that curve and come off the road they actually come about where they would be standing,” Graves said. “There’s a place where the cement on the curb has been fixed and it’s broken again.”

“There’s cars always flying around the curve there where (the kids) are walking down the road,” Streza said. “They have to cross to the other side of the road to even get to Somerset Apartments and it’s just too long of a walk. I am afraid (my daughter) is going to end up getting hit by a car.”

“During the first two days of school, a parent shared concerns with the bus driver about the stop featured in your story. Per protocol, the bus driver shared the process for submitting the concern to transportation with the parent,” said Ellen Rogers, the Community Relations Coordinator for Washington Township Schools. “On Monday, August 7, the parent still had not submitted their concern to transportation for review.”

The parents say the bus stop was moved down 79th Street to the Somerset Apartments without notice on Aug. 7. The women are concerned their high school seniors are now forced to walk nearly a mile in their neighborhood and along 79th Street where there is no sidewalk.

“We are unaware of a change in bus stop or any notice being sent since school started last Thursday from our Transportation Department,” Rogers said.

Rogers said a parent caused a disturbance on this bus route on the day it was allegedly changed. It is unclear who that parent was at this time.

“More concerning is yesterday afternoon the bus driver documented a parent at this bus stop in question intentionally blocking the school bus with their vehicle parked in front of the bus in the middle of the road causing an unsafe situation,” Rogers said. “We have reviewed video documentation of this concerning parent behavior.”

Graves lives in the neighborhood with her “honorary daughter,” Katherine Sanchez.

Sanchez says that she missed the new bus stop after it was abruptly changed, and felt unsafe walking home from the new stop. There is no sidewalk so students are forced to walk in the street or the ditch.

“It’s scary to see those cars going past really fast even knowing that you maybe have to cross that road to get to your bus stop,” Sanchez said.

Streza says both options are dangerous for students.

Graves and Steza want the bus stop moved back into their neighborhood, not back to the corner of 79th, for the student’s safety.

“There is no sidewalk while I am walking so I am walking in the middle of the street and cars are just coming past really quickly and there have been cars that have gotten in accidents at that part of the road that they’re making us cross now,” Keaira Streza said.

Rogers said ‘solutions are being considered’ for these families.

“The initial request to review the bus stop featured in your story from a parent was submitted to our Transportation Department just today, August 8,” Rogers said.

The school said transportation leadership, routers and Washington Township Police will review the stop as a result of the bus stop review.

The Washington Township Schools website says students should not cross major roads to get to the bus stop but these women feel this new bus stop is not in compliance with that rule.

The school district allows 48 hours to review transportation concerns and will communicate directly with the parent when the process is complete.

Editors note: Washington Township Schools did not immediately respond to News 8’s request for comment when this story originally aired but was updated when more information was provided.