CHESAPEAKE -- A 13News Now Investigation has found registered sex offenders, many of whom have been convicted of crimes involving children or violent sexual behavior, living alarmingly close to school bus stops.
One bus stop for Greenbrier Middle School in Chesapeake sits on a quiet street not far from the school. The Rellen Street stop is surrounded by modest middle-class houses decorated with flower beds and lush green grass.
According to the Virginia State Police sex-offender registry, a 48-year-old registered sex offender lives just 220 feet away from this bus stop, a place where middle school-aged children gather before and after school.
According to the registry, the man was convicted for abduction and sexual battery in 1989.
There is no law governing how far a registered sex offender must live from a bus stop and school districts are not required to take any extra precautions if a registered sex offender lives nearby.
Chesapeake Public Schools spokeswoman Kellie Goral declined to speak on camera about the bus stop on Rellen Street. When asked whether or not the school system considers the number and proximity of registered sex offenders living near a bus stop when the system plans its routes for the year, Goral said route planners, 'may take it into consideration, depending on the location.'
In her e-mail Goral also defended the steps the school system takes to ensure its students are safe.
'We have safety procedures our bus drivers follow and we ask our bus drivers to be alert for anything unusual at our bus stops,' Goral said. 'We also investigate concerns as parents or community members notify us.'
Our investigation comes less than a week after an 11-year-old girl was allegedly abducted from her bus stop in Isle of Wight county. Police there have increased morning patrols near bus stops and say they continue to investigate leads on a possible suspect.
Goral says the best advice is for parents to keep an eye on their children and notify police of anything out of the ordinary.