BRUNSWICK COUNTY -- A parent wants to know their child is safe when riding the school bus home. But two incidents in Brunswick County left one couple upset that their young daughter had to walk down a rural dirt road...after the bus dropped her off. About a half mile down this dirt road is where Lisa and James Girard live with their children. It's a rural one lane road that snakes through a wooded area, a path they don't want their eight year old daughter walking down alone. But that's what happened twice this school year. Lisa said, "There's one house out here, and I don't know the people that live in that home, my daughter can be dropped off, she can be picked up by anyone. She's an eight-year-old little girl." The school bus doesn't drive down the dirt road. It stops near the entrance, where James, Lisa or their older daughter are always waiting. But there have been times the bus beat them there. "Usually when this happens the bus is early, usually 10-15 minutes early, if they have a child that doesn't ride the bus that day and they're earlier, letting us know that this is going on," Lisa said. When the Girards complained the school sent transportation safety officers to take pictures of the road, to see if a bus could get to their home. But state statutes, as well as the condition of the road, don't allow it. "You have to consider we have 60-some-odd kids on a 45-foot-long bus, it's not like taking a jeep down the road," Brunswick County Schools Executive Director of Operations Steve Miley said. But the Girards say the road isn't the big issue. "I feel like the school board should be governed by the same laws that I am governed by," Lisa said. "Because if I drop my child off in the middle of nowhere I would lose my child. DSS would come or someone would come and I would lose my child." Miley offered another solution. "if she contacts school we'll bring the child back to her school and basically monitor it, take care of it until they can pick it up." James said, "That would be great, I would rather them do that than to drop them off here in the middle of nowhere, that's common sense." The Girards called the school to ask that the driver not to leave their daughter if no one is waiting. Bobby Taylor, the director of transportation, says the district is looking into a system in the future that has a GPS tracking system for school buses. It would actually call parents a few minutes to let them know the bus is on the way. But it is very costly.
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