JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A local mother of three says she received a letter in the mail this week informing her that her kids’ bus stop is moving due to complaints over students behavior.
She calls the complaints unfounded, but Don Thomas, the man who filed the complaints, is defending his reasons to First Coast News, saying he’s been putting up with too much at that bus stop for years.
After she heard he was complaining, Ashley Robinson took her concerns to the Facebook page of her sons’ school, Enterprise Learning Academy, but she says staff deleted her post and asked her to remove all of her other posts to news organizations.
“They told me to take down my Facebook posts and not contact the news because they wanted to handle it, but they haven’t handled it,” Robinson said.
She says the controversy over their bus stop has created a hardship for her family because the new stop is further away.
Thomas, who lives on the corner of the bus stop, filed a complaint with the Duval County School District last week saying the elementary school kids were throwing rocks at his property. He also reported that a parent backed into his fence leaving a dent.
“I called the school board per their recommendation,” Thomas said. “For ten years things have been going on and I have never complained until this year.”
He believes the kids are also throwing rocks at his new truck, leaving dents on each side. He says he “knows” it’s the young kids who are responsible, even though there is a separate bus across the street that picks up high school students.
“You know for a fact when you’re sitting in your living room and you hear your glass break and you run over there,” Thomas said. “So what the school board’s plan was to move them one block down from my house, and that would solve everything.”
That was a solution Robinson was happy with.
The new route is longer. The shorter option to get to the new bus stop would be to walk along the road where there is no sidewalk and traffic is heavy.
She tried just going across the street from Thomas’ property, but he said that wasn’t far enough to prevent the problem.
Robinson contacted the City of Jacksonville with her concern, hoping they can at least put a sidewalk in if this is going to be the new norm for her family.
“They told me if there is a complaint they have to remove the bus stop for the community’s sake,” Robinson said.
She said she is still not happy with the outcome.
The Duval County School District tells First Coast News they are investigating the situation. In the meantime, they sent us this response:
“Whenever there is a concern regarding placement of a bus stop, our Transportation Department works to manage, problem-solve and create solutions that take into account student safety, convenience for families and concerns of residents. In this case, as a result of reports of property damage and on-gong conflicts between parents at the stop and a resident who lived nearby, we made the determination to relocate the bus stop to an existing, nearby bus stop. This resolution was determined after corresponding with all parties involved.”
DCPS also says the school district has been in contact with both parties throughout the situation.