Gradebook

Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Pinellas student killed at bus stop; critics say I told you so

18

December

Plenty of Pinellas parents said earlier this year that the district's new bus system was an accident waiting to happen. At 6:35 a.m. today, their worst fears came true.

Nora Hernandez-Huapilla, a 17-year-old Pinellas Park High student, was struck and killed by a passing car as she tried cross the intersection at 66th Street and 70th Avenue. You can read more details here.

The bus stop was among a handful that the Pinellas school district had tagged at the start of the school year as being especially problematic. The district made a number of changes to those stops, and complaints dried up. But St. Petersburg parent Trudy Futch said the basic problems remain: Too many kids, milling around busy intersections, often in the dark.

"Duh. I hate to say that, but come on," Futch told The Gradebook. "These are not adults with fully thinking brains, thinking about the dangers of traffic."

School board chair Janet Clark, who was sharply critical of the busing problems earlier this year, said today that she didn't want to jump to conclusions until more details emerged.

"Until we have all the facts, I hesitate to point any fingers to say it was anything other than a terrible accident," she said. "Which isn't to preclude that if it is the district's fault we will accept blame."

"We have to the best we can," Clark also said. "And I don't know that the situation with our busing system is the best we can do."

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:45am]

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