Benton Buses Labeled Unsafe By Parent

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By Matthew Searcy

BENTON -- A Benton parent is worried about his child's safety after a change in bussing for Head Start students.

Benton Head Start switched its bus service at the start of the school year, but the new vehicles are not standard buses and lack certain safety features.

"For me to feel safe, it's best for me to just take my son to school and pick him up everyday," said Bryan Hamilton.  
 
The safety of Hamilton's son Zander came into question earlier this week after a tow truck hopped a curb in front of their home. The driver passed his son's stopped bus while children were getting on board.  
 
"If we would have been crossing the street, that gentleman would have wiped us both out," explained Hamilton.  
 
The current buses do not have stop signs requiring trailing vehicles to yield.  
     
"They are putting our kids in danger," said Hamilton.  
 
The school changed bus services last fall to cut costs, but administrators say the new buses are up to code.  
 
"The buses are painted white, and they don't have any stop arms on them, but that is not a requirement," said administrator Keith Brown. "We provide door-to-door curb service for the children. They are escorted by bus monitors at all times, and they are deliver to their parents. They are not left in a position where they might run out into the street."
 
Hamilton says he would like the buses to be equipped with stop signs, and he'll keep his son off the bus until changes are made.
 
"The least they could do would be to put stickers on the back of the buses that say "We are hauling children. You must stop." 
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