WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - A Pender County mother’s petition for safer school bus routes has gathered almost 1,000 signatures in just two days.
Angela Bowlsby wrote the petition after the reported sexual assault on a 6-year-old on a school bus, by a 13-year-old.
The incident has raised concerns over the safety of students riding to and from school and whether the problem stems from elementary, middle, and high school students sharing the same bus.
Bowlsby presented the petition to the Pender School Board Tuesday night.
“It was really frustrating starting the petition, I was wondering, ‘Are people going to back me? Are they going to sign and are they going to stand behind us,’ because this mother and father of these little girls, they really needed somebody,” Bowlsby said.
Bowlsby worked with another parent, Britany Hutchinson, who hasn’t let her children ride the bus for nearly a year. She explained that she isn’t surprised by the amount of support the petition has received.
“I think that we’re not alone in feeling this way, a lot of children that come home with similar stories and parents want to see something happen and something change,” Hutchinson said.
Parents attending the Pender County School Board meeting proposed solutions such as separating the school bus routes for elementary, middle and high school students or even separating the bell schedules. Bowlsby believes that separating the bell schedules will even help traffic flow.
Pender school board members have not yet put the issue on a future agenda, but Hutchinson and Bowlsby have made it clear that they will continue to fight to make sure children are protected.