Hampton, Va. - A Hampton mom made a disturbing discovery this week about the location of her 14-year-old daughter's school bus stop.
"I was told by neighbors here, they stopped in their car to tell me that my child's bus stop is right in front of a sexual offender's house, and my mouth dropped," says Dolores Barnes.
Since September, Barnes says her daughter was picked up by a Hampton City Schools bus across the street from a registered sex offender's house.
In the afternoon, she says she is dropped off right in his front lawn.
Both stops are about a quarter mile from where they live.
"It's not right and the school system you know, should know all of this stuff," says Chris Moore, the neighbor that notified Barnes about the situation.
According to the Virginia Department of Education, regarding bus stops, local schools are only required to review the bus routes for safety hazards.
They also must periodically look at the safety of students at bus stops and report their findings.
A spokeswoman for Hampton City Schools says they frequently monitor sex offenders living within the city, and they do consider this information when selecting bus stops.
NewsChannel 3 asked them why it took a parent to notify them about this particular sex offender, and we are still waiting to hear back.
Hampton City Schools did change the location of the bus stop from its current location, to go into effect before the end of the week.
Now Barnes is urging parents to do their own research through the Virginia State Police Sex Offender Registry.
"Parents need to actually check to see what's going on at their child's bus stop and make sure there aren't any other sexual offenders there."
NewsChannel 3 also reached out to all Hampton Roads schools about their protocols for bus stops. The following sent their responses:
- Chesapeake Public Schools: If a stop lands in front of a sex offender's house, the stop is not moved; however the school division offers an additional stop as an alternate at a parent’s request. They also investigate concerns as parents or community members notify them.
- Portsmouth Public Schools: The Department of Transportation dose check the Virginia State Police site for sex offenders and their relationships to bus stops. They also review the person for the type of crime they have committed and location of bus stop in reference to their house.
- Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools: They review sex offender locations when determining stop locations.
- Suffolk Public Schools: The location of registered sex offenders is reviewed, along with several other factors including traffic volume and speed limits. When they receive a parent concern, they review the situation and work to find a more appropriate location when possible.
- Virginia Beach Public Schools: They do not use the sex offender registry as a definitive planning tool division-wide, but it has been helpful in individual circumstances when a concern is brought to their attention.