Mom says some of the homeless people have attempted to talk to the students.
Parents, teachers and principals around the county are well aware of the adjustment period tension that happens during the first few weeks back to school. And with the over 100 extra children Ormond Beach Middle School is taking on from Campbell Middle School, there's even more of an adjustment to be made, espcially when it comes to the busing schedule.
That however, is not a good enough excuse for Joy McDermott's daughter to be waiting at her stop — which is next two a vacant lot frequently used by homeless people — for nearly an hour.
"It's at the intersection of two vacant lots, and one of them is where homeless people camp out throughout the day and night," she said. "There's lawn chairs and blankets everywhere, and for me to leave my daughter there is unacceptable."
McDermott's daughter, a sixth-grader, is currently one of a few students being picked up at a stop on the corner of Shady Place and South Palmetto Ave., in Daytona Beach. For the past few weeks that school has been in session, her bus has been consistently late for over a half hour picking her up and dropping her off. McDermott said she's tried numerous times to reach the school and the school board's transportation department about this issue, but no one has called her back.
"The homeless people are starting to engage in conversation with the other children," she said. "Just yesterday morning there was a fight between the kids at the stop, and it drew attention to them. The homeless people walked over like they were going to help break it up, but just sat there and watched."
The Volusia County School Board Director of Transportation Al Chandler said that particular stop has been in use and deemed safe by the county for at least two years. It currently also serves as a pick up for Easter Seals Pre-K students. According to him, a stop is determined to be safe for students based on visability, the distance between intersections, and the volume of traffic, among other things.
While he and the rest of the administration are aware of the inconsistenties in the bus stop schedule, he said they won't add any new stops until they have a full understanding of the times, because it impacts the rest of the stops' schedules.
When it comes to the situation with the homeless people, Chandler said they would typically work with local law enforcement to create a safer enviornment, but it is the parents' responsibility to get their kids to and from the stop safely.