WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) - A school bus stop in front of the home of two registered sex offenders, who committed crimes against children, was moved Friday morning.
Target 8 saw Wyoming Public Schools Superintendent Thomas Reeder at the new location, which is still on Cricklewood Street SW but a few blocks away from the offenders' residence. Reeder and other adults were there to instruct parents and students where to go.
There was some confusion about if and when the original stop had been moved.
Reeder told Target 8 Wednesday night that the bus stop had been moved -- but it hadn't at that time. He said he must have received incorrect information from his director of transportation. He promised things will be different by Friday morning.
Reeder said Wednesday night that the bus stop was moved last year when the district learned that a sex offender lived at the home.
One of the two offenders called the district last school year, and asked that the stop be moved. Target 8 spoke to one of the sex offenders on Thursday who stated he was planning to call the district again because there were children on the property. He said again he had called the district last year, but nothing happened.
Reeder confirmed that one of the offenders did contact the district last school year.
But both before and after school Thursday, the bus was still stopping in front of the home to pick up children.
Renee Sivins and her children moved to the neighborhood just before the start of this school year. She said she was no longer going to allow her 6-year-old daughter to go to the bus stop.
"I will not bring her back to this area," she told Target 8 Thursday.
She said she would gladly walk a few extra houses, or even blocks, for her peace of mind. She said she thought other parents would feel the same way.
When Sivins learned the offenders self-reported, she said she was even more incensed.
"Then there's no reason the bus stop should be there at all," Sivins said. "The bus stop should have been moved a long time ago."
But it wasn't, though Superintendent Reeder said otherwise Wednesday night.
"So we moved the bus stop," he said Wednesday. "We moved it down about 50 yards, I believe. It's near a corner and we've been picking up since then."
When Target 8 informed him Thursday that the bus was stopping in the same place, he at first looked confused. He then said Target 8 would have to contact the district's director of transportation. When Target 8 asked for a name or number, Reeder became agitated. He said he was "being ganged up on."
"It's so unfair. It's so unfair. It's really unfair what...don’t you put that on there. It's so unfair the way we're treated," he said.
Target 8 explained that it was an opportunity to correct inaccurate information from the Wednesday interview, but Reeder said it was an ambush and walked away.
After that initial conversation, Target 8 called Reeder on the phone, and stated if he wanted to talk during the next hour then the crew would be in the parking lot of the district's administration building.
Several minutes later, Reeder came out of the building. At first, he said he wanted to see the video of the bus stop to see just how close it was to the home. When he viewed it, he agreed to speak on camera and explain what happened.
He said that the stop will be changed by Friday morning.
"I apologize to our parents," Reeder said Thursday. "This should have already been done, but that's the job of the superintendent. I did not do my job."
Reeder said he plans to eliminate that original stop completely, and split students up between two other stops a about block and a half away.
He admitted that it was a bad idea to have a bus stop so close to the sex offenders' home.
"Absolutely," said Reeder when asked. "[One of the offenders] called. He told us we should be moving that and moving it 50 feet is not enough."
Reeder said he does plan to proactively address this issue in the future, saying his transportation department will match sex offender addresses against bus stops rather than waiting for someone to call and ask for a move.
Police are looking for the suspect in an armed robbery that occurred at a gas station in Plainwell Thursday night.
The rink will be open that day from 3-9 p.m.
Bethany Murk, 48, was arrested Thursday following a drug bust in Van Buren County.