Bus Stops and Sexual Offenders
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) maintains an online registry of sexual offenders and predators residing in Florida. The website can be searched for offenders by name and by neighborhood. Click on the image below to visit the FDLE sexual offenders and predators website.
Parents and guardians of Escambia County Public Schools students are encouraged to visit the FDLE site and remain aware of where offenders and predators reside in relation to places their children spend time. Parents and guardians are also encouraged to remember that offenders and predators are not stationary. Buffers established under the law and under School Board Rule do not imply limitations on the traveling range of offenders and predators.
Parents and guardians are advised of Florida Administrative Code (FAC) 6A-3.0121 which requires that parents are responsible for ensuring "the safe travel of their students during the portions of each trip to and from school and home when the students are not under the custody and control of the school district, including during each trip to and from home and the assigned bus stop when the school district provides bus transportation." School Board Rule (SBR) 6.09 requires, "Parents / guardians whose children are transported at public expense shall [...] (p)rovide necessary protection for their children in going to, from and at bus stops."
Florida Statutes, Section 947.1405 requires sexual offenders whose victims were under the age of 18 and are serving a court-ordered term of community monitoring (probation) not to locate their residences within 1,000 feet of schools or school bus stops. The law also requires school districts not to place school bus stop within 1,000 feet of these supervised sexual offenders who are serving a term of conditional release. Officials notify the School District when a supervised offender serving a term of conditional release takes up a new residence in Escambia County.
In addition to supervised offenders on probation, there are registered offenders and predators, including some supervised offenders who are under no obligation with regard to their residences near schools and school bus stops. Officials do not notify the School District when registered offenders and predators take up new residence in Escambia County.
School Board Rules
Escambia County Public Schools has approved a change to School Board Rule (SBR 6.07(5)) that is more stringent than Florida Statute. Under SBR 6.07(5), ECPS will not locate a school bus stop within 1,000 feet of a supervised sexual offender (regardless of the age of the victim and whether the offender is on probation or not) and will establish an additional 100 foot buffer around the remaining registered sexual offenders and predators when the District becomes aware of them.
The ECPS Transportation Department maintains bus routing software on which the residences of registered offenders and predators appear as icons. The Department is able to effectively route buses around these offenders and predators. Additionally, when the Transportation Department repositions a bus stop in reaction to a supervised sexual offender's location, it will notify school staff of the change and the location of the offender/predator.
In instances where walking distances defined in SBR 6.02(9) conflict with statutory mandates regarding the 1,000 foot buffer around supervised offenders, the 1,000 foot buffer required by the law will prevail.
Members of the public are encouraged to contact the District Transportation Department when they become aware of a registered offender or predator who resides inside of the 100 foot bus stop buffer.
We want everyone to know that there are still pockets of supervised sexual offender residences that will force some bus stops outside of students' neighborhoods. Even under the improved criteria, the presence of those offenders makes establishing bus stops near them unsafe for students.