Do sex offenders live near your child's bus stop? - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Do sex offenders live near your child's bus stop?

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -

Back to school, back to the bus stop. But some parents worry what's nearby.

"It's his first year on the big bus so he's excited about that," said Yalanta Austin, a parent of a 5-year-old son.

"This year is the first year that he can ride the bus by himself, you don't have to have a parent walk, and he was wanting to kind of do that, and I won't allow it under the circumstances," said parent John Wigley.

Wigley won't allow it because of what his girlfriend Kellie Gaulding found.

"It's just something I feel every parent should look into just to see what kind of people live around the neighborhood," said Gaulding.

She looked on the Missouri Sex Offender Registry, and near her son's bus stop she found four sex offenders listed.

"Shocked I guess, not really shocked just amazed at how many lived so close to us and we weren't even aware of it," said Gaulding.

"Somebody could be waiting at the bus stop for him and say 'Well your mom sent me' you know if I wasn't here or something and he'd probably go thinking that his mom is going to be waiting for him whenever he get to the location," said Austin.

Parents like Austin agree, kids are too willing to talk to just about anyone.

"He's too friendly, that's what I say all the time, he doesn't know strangers, it's like anybody with a friendly face is a friend," said Austin.

"My son he's very friendly, like to say hi to everybody and everything else," said Wigley.

"He's very easily influenced and very quick to say hi to anybody," said Gaulding.

Cape Girardeau Police Officer Darin Hickey says school bus stops change often, which would make it difficult for sex offenders to steer clear of a stop.

"There's going to be loop holes in any law you just cannot write a law that works perfectly 100 percent of the time," said Hickey.

He says it's important for parents to teach kids before they even step into a classroom.

"Education is the big thing, we want to educate our children that there are dangers out there," said Hickey.

"Yeah we have that discussion but again he's five so some things go in the ear and come right out the other," said Austin.

Now, Gaulding says she walks her son to and from the bus stop each day.

"Especially after finding out what I found out, it's just more comforting for us that way we know who drives by, who's around him, we know his surroundings whenever he goes to get on the bus," said Gaulding.

Mike Patton, the location manager at First Student Bus Company, says in order to avoid sex offenders near a bus stop, the bus would have to stop at each student's door.

He suggests parents taking turns walking the kids to and from the stop.

Missouri Highway Patrol Sex Offender Registry

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