QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) — Unlike the law in Illinois, Iowa and Missouri where child sex offenders are not allowed to live near a school, there is no such law pertaining to school bus stops, at least in Illinois.
With school already underway in parts of the Tri-States and other schools expected to start later this week, that loophole in the law is concerning parents.
Quincy parents Danny and Amy Smith are walking the same three block route their son Daniel will make Thursday morning as he heads to the bus stop.
“He’s 5 years old,” said Amy. “He’s our baby. He’s our first born.”
The first day jitters for Daniel are nothing compared to the fears his parents are now facing, knowing their son’s bus stop is just feet from three registered sex offenders.
“It just scares us to death knowing our 5-year -ld is supposed to stand on a corner so close to that,” said Danny.
After finding that out, Danny says he immediately went online and was surprised to find out that there is currently no law in Illinois pertaining to how close a school bus stop can be to a sex offender’s home.
“The bus stop is so close, all they’d have to do is look out their window,” said Danny. “It’s right there on the corner. It’s too close for my comfort level.”
In fact, a bill was introduced in the Illinois House back in 2015 to make it unlawful for a registered child sex offender to reside within 500 feet of a school bus stop. but that proposed law never made it to the floor for a vote.
That responsibility has now fallen on the parents to do their due diligence.
“The bus stop shouldn’t be picked by a computer system but what’s best for the students and what’s keeping their safety in mind, not only how far they have to walk but where they are walking and the environment they’re walking in,” said Amy.
Quincy Public School District did not want to take part in WGEM’s story. However, the district’s spokesperson says they understand the Smith family’s concerns and they are in contact with them.
However, they will still use this corner as a bus stop, for now.