Some Oklahoma School Bus Stops Near Sex Offenders

Thursday, February 14th 2013, 8:06 pm

By: News 9

Metro kids can't wait to get home after a long day at school. But some parents worry about their child's safety once they step off the bus.

A Putnam City School's mom was stunned to learn her son was dropped off right in front of a sex offender's home.

"I was mad. I felt scared for my son and I felt uncomfortable," she said. "I think they should move the bus stop."

Oklahoma has more than 7,500 registered sex offenders. State law states convicted sex offenders cannot live within 2000 feet of a school, playground, campsite or daycare. Bus stops are not on that list. When we compared offenders reported addresses with thousands of metro bus stops in the metro, many overlapped.   

We hit the streets, talking with parents whose kids are dropped off just a few feet from several sex offenders' doorsteps.

"Oh wow! I didn't know nothing about it," one mom said. "I don't want my child walking past or bumping into one."

Most were shocked and uneasy about it.

A dad told us, "I think it's kind of messed up."

Another mom had no idea her children walk across a sex offender's yard to get home.

"Yeah, that's crazy. Someone needs to let the school know about that," she said.

In most cases, the schools do know. The State Department of Education has a list of factors for districts to consider when choosing bus routes, including:

* Traffic Congestion

* Visibility

* Terrain

* Railroad Tracks

* Sex Offender Locations

But Putnam City Schools Spokesman, Steve Lindley, said that's not always easy.

"Other times what they're doing is moving that child further away from the safety and security of home," Lindley said. "Or you may be moving that child out of a line of sight from parents who are in their home. So that's not always the best solution."

We found a neighborhood where children ride the bus, with at least six sex offenders. Some states require sex offenders live at least 1000 feet from a bus stop. If Oklahoma adopted that law, buses would not be allowed to pick up any kids in the neighborhood. Districts say it's up to parents to make sure their kids are safe.

"Teach your children to be aware of their surroundings," one parent said. "Know every scenario there is out there so they stay protected."

Another mom teaches her children, "Never to talk to strangers, no matter who they are. Sex offenders or anyone. Not to talk to anyone. Just get off the bus and come straight home."

If parents have any concern about a bus stop location, notify your child's school.

Find out if a sex offender lives near you.


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