Lee County school district town hall leaves parents questioning immediacy

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Bench for students to sit at while waiting for their bus to school. (Credit: WINK News)
Bench for students to sit at while waiting for their bus to school. (Credit: WINK News)

There are a lot of ideas to protect our kids at their bus stops. But how soon can we expect improvements from the school district?

Parents made it clear at the Tuesday evening school town hall that they want solutions now, before another student is killed.

The School District of Lee County told WINK News any ideas and suggestions presented last night will be considered and investigated. Then, they can figure out timing to potentially roll out those changes, some of which by the start of the next school year.

But there were not a lot of specifics at the town hall meeting and that has some parents feeling disappointed.

Cape Coral mom Erin Diaz was one of the around 50 parents who attended the School District of Lee County town hall Tuesday.

“I was pretty bummed walking out of that meeting,” Diaz said.

Diaz is one of the moms behind Benches For Our Babes, which is a group that collect and put out nearly 200 picnic tables at school bus stops in the last three weeks.

Diaz felt they prepared strong questions and made powerful statements, but were not acknowledged by the district.

The town hall was the first dedicated to school bus safety since the hit-and-run death of Layla Aiken, 8. The second grader was killed while waiting for her school bus.

Dr. Greg Adkins, the School District of Lee County superintendent, heard parents present their ideas for safer stops, such as better lighting, sidewalks, speed bumps and eliminating school choice.

But the town hall did not reassure parents the district recognition of the immediacy of school bus safety.

“What we’re doing now is we’re continuing to work with our county and local municipalities in terms of where are our bus stops and making sure that we have a place to put that bench,” Adkins said. “We’re working on a task force to look at other things we can do as a community.

“We have been working on proximity based student assignment system… more permanent bus stops,” Adkins said. “We are currently involved in educating. We’ve been involved with our school principals.”

“It was honest to God like are they skating professionals they skated around a lot of the subjects,” Diaz said. “And that was hard to see this is a very, very, sensitive subject and one that we can work together.”

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