ROCKFORD, Mich. (WOOD) - It may seem easy on the surface to keep school bus stops away from sex offenders' houses, but in West Michigan, district leaders told Target 8 there's more to the problem than meets the eye.
The issue came up after Target 8 uncovered that Wyoming Public Schools knew since the previous school year that a school bus stop was in front of two sex offenders' house, and did nothing about it.
After Target 8 brought that information to the superintendent Thursday, the stop was moved Friday morning. The superintendent and a school principal were out at the stop directing parents and students to other stops. The superintendent declined to speak again to Target 8.
Target 8 found in at least Florida and Georgia, there are laws that create a buffer zone of 1,000 feet around school bus stops. No such law exists in Michigan. It seems like it would be an easy fix to create one, but local district leaders said it's not that easy.
For example, considering the number of sex offenders and number of bus stops, a mandated distance would make it difficult for districts to maintain their current number of stops.
Wyoming parents told Target 8 Thursday at a few houses would be enough. But laws on the books in other states like Florida and Georgia require 1,000 feet -- more than three football fields.
"You may end up having a difficult time finding a bus stop that would be appropriate," Rockford Superintendent Dr. Michael Shibler said.
That was the biggest issue local leaders in Forest Hills, Grand Rapids and Rockford had with the idea of making a similar law in Michigan.
"If legislation was not done carefully, it would create a dilemma that would make it difficult for us to service all of the members of the community at large," Darryl Hofstra, Forest Hills' supervisor of transportation, told Target 8.
And depending on how often it would be updated, leaders say sex offenders who move to different homes, could mean moving bus stops throughout the year.
"To start moving sites around, you may actually make it a more dangerous situation for the student," Shibler said.
In Rockford, the district has more of a reliance on people in the community, saying it immediately responds to any complaints, and student safety is the most important thing.
Forest Hills says it inputs sex offender data into the program that determines where to put bus stops. They do that once a year.
GRPS emailed Target 8, saying that district advocates a requirement for criminal sexual conduct parolees to have to report their addresses not just to Michigan State Police, but also to the school districts they live in.
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The extravaganza was Dec. 11, 2013 in downtown Grand Rapids.
Gary Rolls Jr. has announced he'll resign from the Kent County Board of Commissioners, effective Jan. 1, 2014.