For the past several years, the industry has been especially attuned to the problem of child sexual predators who live in close proximity to school bus stops or who might cruise them regularly in search of victims.
Most states have a database of registered sex crime offenders. Not only do parents want to know where these criminals live, so do schools. Many of the states have laws that require these criminals to not move within 1,000 feet or so of school campuses, parks or other places where children are known to congregate. This can include school bus stops. But, of course, if sex offenders already live nearby schools or bus stops, there's little authorities can do besides notifying the community.
No such law exists in Arizona.
So, the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson recently decided to compare the state Department of Public Safety's map of the the most dangerous sex offenders with school bus routes in the area. In full disclosure, I used to write for the Arizona Daily Star, and I know the area and school districts well. But the few people there I still know did not put me on to the report. Yet, obviously, I still found the results interesting.
The paper only uncovered three stops that are nearby registered offenders, which shows that, despite not being required to, local transportation departments are seemingly doing a very thorough job to prevent students from having to congregate for the school bus in areas where they could be in danger of abduction. Still, as we know, it only takes one incident to lead to tragedy.
The location of school bus stops nearby the homes of registered sex offenders could outrage some parents. But a spokeswoman for Marana Unified School District on the northwest outskirts of Tucson said that only one parent complained and asked for a new stop after being notified of a sex predator.
The two other stops found to be near sex predators are under the jurisdiction of Sunnyside Unified School District. A spokeswoman told the Star that both stops are safe and are located at central locations in communities that are not at the doorstep of a particular residence.
Do you know where your school bus stops are?