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UPDATE: School bus stop on P.E.I. moves away from sex offender’s house

Parent Kerri Kelly holds a petition with the signatures of residents who live on and near the private road, Pine Street, in Brackley Beach, stating they do not have an issue with a school bus going down the road. Currently, the bus stop is located before the road and right next to a convicted sex offender’s home.  ©THE GUARDIAN
Parent Kerri Kelly holds a petition with the signatures of residents who live on and near the private road, Pine Street, in Brackley Beach, stating they do not have an issue with a school bus going down the road. Currently, the bus stop is located before the road and right next to a convicted sex offender’s home. ©THE GUARDIAN - Mitch MacDonald

A Brackley Beach woman who raised concerns about her son’s school bus stop is pleased her request to change the stop has been granted.

Kerry Kelly spoke to The Guardian earlier this week about the concern she had with the stop where her 10-year-old son waited for the school bus each morning.

The problem, she said, was the bus stopped on MacAskill Crescent just outside of convicted sex offender Don Ernst Harley’s home.

The Kellys live about 300 metres away from the bus stop on Pine Street.

Kelly said she contacted the Public Schools Branch (PSB) a year ago but raised the issue again after Harley was sentenced last week to house arrest following a sexual assault conviction.

On Wednesday evening, Kelly was contacted by the PSB and was told that, following an investigation into the matter, the stop has been changed and is now located closer to her home, where she can keep an eye on her son.

“I am very pleased. After over a year of no response from (PSB) and a little media coverage that it took for them to get it moved, I’m happy.”

Parker Grimmer, director of PSB, said his department had no prior knowledge of a situation that involved a person who was convicted of a sexual offense, but once that information was presented, PSB acted fast.

“It was actually done in very fast pace given the fact we moved it based on a news article that was directed to the public on (Tuesday) from your newspaper.”

The new stop is located closer to the Kelly residence, away from the area in question.

A road safety assessment was conducted on the new stop for student pick-up and drop off, agreements were made with the snowplow operator for this area and other measures were addressed, including involving and informing the school bus driver of the decision.

When the public brings forward a concern, the PSB takes it seriously and always does a thorough investigation, Grimmer said, adding the public might not always agree with decisions reached.

“We’re always working under the bar of student safety, and the stop that had previously been there was a safe stop and was serving the people that were using it, until such a time that we were given information that made us need to change it.

As for her son, Kelly said he was pleased with the news.

“My son actually woke up this morning and he was very excited and said, ‘yay, I get to go to my new bus stop!’ It was really great,” she said. “My son is in a safe spot and he can literally wait at my driveway until the bus stops and then run 30 seconds and get on the bus, so I can see him from my window. It is a huge relief.”

 

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