Parent Complains of Bus Stop Across from Sex Offender

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COLUMBIA - A parent in the Valley View area of northwest Columbia said Monday she objects to a summer school bus stop that is right across the street from the home of a registered sex offender.

Melissa Camper has 8-year-old twins who used to catch the bus to summer school at that stop. Camper started sending her children to a different stop once she discovered the offender lived there.

Columbia Public Schools uses First Student Transportation as its bus service. CPS officials said the district leaves it up to First Student to determine its bus routes and stops. The district also expects First Student to take into account known sex offenders when determining its bus routes. A First Student spokesman said the company uses computer software to pick the routes for the buses to take. The software chooses the most efficient routes based on where students live.

Timothy Stokes of First Student said it varies from office to office when the company checks the addresses of sex offenders in the area. KOMU 8 spoke with the employees of the Columbia office to find out whether they do these checks of known sex offenders when determining bus routes, but they said they could not comment and referred us back to the corporate office.

First Student Transportation and Columbia Public Schools said they appreciate parents calling and letting them know if their child is being picked at a location they feel is unsafe. Columbia Public Schools said it is working with the Boone County Sheriff's Department to determine a way to get more frequent updates on sex offenders.