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School district re-evaluating bus stops this weekend

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Photo: Video by fox4now.com

School district re-evaluating bus stops this weekend

By Matt Grant. CREATED Aug 17, 2012 - UPDATED: Aug 17, 2012

ESTERO - The Lee County School District is finally agreeing to reevaluate eight bus stops some parents are calling unsafe.

After Fox 4 received dozens of calls and emails from parents angry over the new bus stop assignments, the district's transportation director says he will review those complaints and one board member says he's not ruling out the possibility the stops could change.

It's 2 p.m. at the Bella Terra gated community when the bus drops off Madeline Robinson, 15, in the middle of Corkscrew Road.

"Do you feel unsafe with this bus stop?," asked Fox 4 reporter Matt Grant.

"Yes," said Madeline. "Because it's kind of right by the roads."

The Bella Terra stop is located on the grassy area in front of the community, next to Corkscrew Road. There are no sidewalks or street lamps.

"How do you feel about this?," asked Grant.

"Very, very worried," said one parent.

"I think the bus stop is unsafe," said Madeline's father, Jim Robinson.

The district is following its own policy, which they ignored in the past, stating buses can't go into gated communities.

We checked and found the district can make an exception "if it is determined by the transportation department that there are no safe locations close to the entrance or exit."

"It's dangerous," said Robinson. "And everybody feels unsafe about it."

But it's not just Bella Terra. Fox 4 has received complaints from eight communities including Royal Tee in Cape Coral and Cross Creek in Fort Myers.

On Thursday, Transportation Director Robert Morgan sent Robinson and email. In it he wrote "all of the bus stops...are being reviewed this weekend."

Board member Don Armstrong confirmed that was going to happen.

"Because of your stories," said Armstrong, "and the safety factor...we are looking into each one of these bus stops."

"We want to make sure our students," he said, "are safe at all times."

Something Robinson says isn't happening.

"I'd like them to come out here and take a look at this," said Robinson. "And change this. Put it back to where it was."

Armstrong says a decision about the bus stops could come next week.

When asked if the district could allow buses back into some gated communities, if it's determined there is a safety risk, Armstrong said "anything's possible."

Read District bus policy here

Matt Grant
mgrant@fox4now.com