Seeking safer bus stops at the Lee County schools town hall meeting

Reporter: Morgan Rynor
Published: Updated:

Preventing a tragedy that cost two Lee County students their lives.

You have heard their names on our newscasts almost daily. Layla Aiken and Alana Tamplin both died in crashes at school bus stops.

On Tuesday evening, community members and the leaders of Lee County schools renewed their ongoing effort to build safer bus stops in a passionate town hall meeting.

The list of questions asked at the town hall went on and on. They discussed benches, lighting, sidewalks – you name it. But people that WINK News spoke with had mixed reactions about the answers they were given.

Harold Larson showed up to the town hall with a strong message.

“I’ve lost my niece, Alana Tamplin, in January to a hit and run driver,” Larson said. “I’ve lost my own baby girl. So yes, it’s very personal.”

The school board said many factors go into eliminating school choice, like still needing to transport the 49,000 kids to school. But that they are looking into it.

A line of parents and concerned community members showed up with more suggestions on how to make school bus stops safer.

“Speed bumps and a sign,” one person said. “Something as simple as that.”

“You’ve got a bus stop at this corner and another bus stop at the next corner,” another person said. “Why can’t we just make this bus stop just at this corner.”

Daniel Webb showed up with a literal display of answers.”I have a truck full of benches for the same reason I’ve had a truck full of benches for the last few weeks,” Webb said. “Kids need to be safe; city needs to do something about it, County needs to figure out how to make it work.”

The school board liked ideas, such as adopt-a-bench-programs and educating students on safe practices at school bus stops.

Parents, like Randi Romanov who helped start Lights for Layla, said she is happy with the questions being asked.

“I think they’re being made to answer questions I don’t think they were expecting,” Romanov said.

But she said there are still many that went unanswered.

“I want to know what they are doing right now because we’ve done benches, we’ve done fundraisers, we’ve raised money,” said Romanov, who plans to organize another fundraising event Saturday.

Larson liked the answers he was given Tuesday evening but wants actions instead of words.

“I hear what you’re saying and I hope you implement it!” Larson said. “Because if another child gets killed in the dark, I’m holding each and every one of you responsible.”

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