It's nearly 3:25 in the afternoon when school bus No. 16 rumbles onto Rockwell Avenue just north of NW 164.
As the bright yellow bus approaches the entrance to the Springer Run addition, the driver moves into the right-turn lane that feeds into the addition and begins slowing down. He brakes, and the bus groans in protest.
The mechanical arm with a stop sign flips out from the side of the bus just as a gray Honda zips by.
The rest of the traffic obeys the law as the children who live in the addition exit the bus.
Randy Hampton said he is concerned for his daughter's safety because the bus stop is so close to the busy two-lane avenue with a speed limit of 55 mph.
Hampton and other parents from the neighborhood stated their case to have the bus route altered last week during the Deer Creek School Board meeting.
The parents of Springer Run said it makes more sense for the bus to continue into the neighborhood and down Springer Run Road, which ends in an oversized cul-de-sac big enough for the bus to turn around.
Hampton said the bus used the cul-de-sac for the past eight years, but the route changed this year.
“I'm only asking for three minutes or less of time to do what's best and safest for our children,” Hampton said as he addressed the board. “Use common sense and don't skew data on this issue. Turn the bus right.”
Trent Gibson, the state Education Department's director of student transportation, said he inspected the stop Oct. 2. While he did witness one or two cars running the school bus stop sign, he said the stop is safe.
“Rockwell is a busy street, but that turn lane means the students don't have to cross the street,” Gibson said.
“The stop arm violations are something that has to change. More enforcement is needed out there to get those people who are running those reds.”
Failure to stop at a school bus stop sign can result in a one-year suspension of the driver's license and a $249 fine.
Deer Creek Superintendent Sean McDaniel said members of the school board also went to the Springer Run addition to determine the safety of the students.
“We had nine different people get in their vehicles and drive out to your stop with the question of ‘Is it a safe stop?'” McDaniel said. “They all responded with ‘Yes. It is safe.'”
Other board members argued that most of the stops in the district are off a busy road.
But Hampton, who has video documentation of 18 violations in the first 33 days of school, asked: If there is a safer alternative, why not use it?
“How many violations is it going to take to turn the bus right?” he said. “It's a safer stop on our street. We are putting transportation times or something ahead of safety, and we can't do that.”
Gibson said safety is the reason for keeping the bus out of the neighborhood, citing a study done by the Kansas Department of Education that found the most frequent cause of injuries to students was caused by their own bus.
“In a lot of ways, it's safer for the bus to drop off there in the turn lane than pulling into the neighborhood,” he said.
Gibson made recommendations to McDaniel on Thursday that he says will improve the entire district's situation.
In addition to educating students on the bus about loading and unloading procedures, Gibson said the district should establish a strong relationship with local law enforcement to crack down on law breakers and educate high school drivers who text and drive about the dangers and consequences of running the school buses stop sign.
Mary White, who has two children who ride the bus, said she thinks having the bus turn into the addition is the only option to guarantee safety.
“That's the only safe option,” she said.
“Something is going to happen, and it's going to hurt everybody that's involved. All we are asking is for three minutes.”