Bill would ban school bus stops near sex offenders’ homes

Published Jun 15, 2018 at 4:00pm

The New York State Senate has passed legislation, sponsored by Sen. David J. Valesky D-53, Oneida, that would prohibit the placement of school bus stops in front of the residences of registered sex offenders. 

“A concerned mother contacted my office after she learned that her sixth-grade daughter’s school bus stop would be located next to the home of a level 3 registered sex offender. Many children are at bus stops unsupervised for periods of time in the morning and the afternoon, and a school bus stop in front of the home of a registered sex offender needlessly puts children at risk. I want to thank Ms. Hull for bringing this issue to my attention and for her advocacy on behalf of her daughter,” Valesky said.

The mother, Randi Hull, of Oneida, received her daughter’s bus stop assignment from the Oneida City School District’s transportation department last September. The address of the stop was located in front of the residence of a level 2 registered sex offender. She contacted the transportation department, which immediately changed the location of the stop, but the reassigned bus stop was located next door to a level 3 registered sex offender. 

Hull began transporting her daughter to and from school herself, and she began a petition on social media in an effort to make parents aware of the problem. With more than 1,700 signatures from concerned members of the community and information from the state Department of Education, she was able to successfully get her daughter’s bus stop moved to a safe location.

She also contacted Valesky’s office to inquire about legislation to make sure that bus stops in the future are located in safe areas. 

“I am beyond elated, and so thankful that this bill has passed. This started with my daughter’s safety. As any parent would, I needed to ensure that she would be safe each day. Once that was taken care of, I decided that I wanted all of the kids in New York State to have that same amount of reasonable safety. Reasonable safety should not be negotiable when it comes to our children,” Hull said. “I want to thank Senator Valesky for his hard work on this, as well as his support. I’d also like to thank Mayor Leo Matzke, Deputy Mayor Jim Chamberlain, OPD Chief Paul Thompson, Superintendent Mary-Margaret Zehr, and the OCSD Board of Education for their professionalism, concern for the safety of our children, and their willingness to help achieve that safety.”

The bill has been delivered to the Assembly for consideration.