ROUND ROCK, Williamson County (KXAN) — The Round Rock Independent School District is vowing to make changes to their transportation department after KXAN revealed a registered sex offender is living across the street from a local school bus stop.
A concerned father of three spoke with KXAN in anonymity. He said he was surprised to learn the registered sex offender has been living there for at least a year.
“The kids get off the bus, you know, and the bus driver makes sure no cars are coming and they go their merry way. They should not have to worry about who’s maybe sitting in their car in their driveway or whose house [they] walk in front of,” he explained. “My life revolves around making sure that my girls are safe each and every day. They are my life.”
He continued, “As a father, it’s my responsibility to make sure that they feel safe walking down their sidewalk.”
The Round Rock homeowner says he figured the school district was on top of a serious concern like this one.
“I would only assume that when these routers make these plans and make these routes that they also look online with the same data that you and I have available,” he explained.
However, KXAN Investigates learned RRISD’s transportation department wasn’t aware of this case and has not been using sex offender registry technology online to play a role in designing their bus routes. A district spokesperson said RRISD will begin doing so to ensure that such a process becomes standard.
The district also admits that although they are notified when a registered sex offender moves into the area, they need to improve their operations to prevent situations like this moving forward.
“The campus is notified, the superintendent’s office also gets a copy of that letter. Our safety and security folks do keep a master list of that. What we’re realizing is we need to make sure that our transportation department also is involved,” Jenny LaCoste-Caputo, executive director of communications and community relations at RRISD explained.
With more than 6,100 bus stops located throughout the school district — combined with factors like population growth, new schools and boundary changes, LaCoste-Caputo says making sure bus stop locations provide for the safety of students is an ongoing, challenging task.
“We have to constantly look and reevaluate the mobility of the population we’re talking about — registered sex offenders. It is very high. They move in and out with great frequency. So, staying on top of that could be a challenge, but it’s one that we’re absolutely committed to,” she said.
The district says they also have to look at other dangerous factors when deciding stop locations including how far students have to walk to the bus stop, and factors like a lack of sidewalks and busy streets, as well.
After the concerned homeowner contacted the school district, RRISD confirms it is moving this particular bus stop — effective Thursday. The district sent home a letter to parents of the affected students on Tuesday, alerting them to the bus stop location change. In all, about 90 students at all levels were affected.
For those of you questioning school bus stops in your own neighborhood, finding the locations of registered sex offenders is simple. DPS lets you map it out, according to your address or by city. From there, you can zoom in and out of neighborhoods.
It is important to make clear registered sex offenders are not breaking any laws by living near a bus stop.