Local News

School bus stop controversy resolved in Fountain

District 8 relocates stop that was too close to home of sex offender

School Bus Stop Controversy in Fountain

FOUNTAIN, Colo. - A school bus stop that was moved four years ago because of concerns about a sex offender and moved back to that street this week now will be relocated.

Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8 issued a release late Wednesday afternoon, a day before the start of the fall semester, after parents expressed concern about the plan.

The stop was to be in front of a mailbox cluster on Lake Avenue near the intersection of Bailing Wire Way -- just around the corner from the home of Joseph Nonnast, 63. Nonnast was convicted of sexually assaulting a teen while in a position of trust.

Parents said the district moved the stop in 2010 after Nonnast was seen taking pictures of children getting on and off the bus.

The district said it decided to move the stop back to Lake Avenue to accommodate children at a nearby new subdivision.

But one parent, Christina Tidey, said all 16 kids who normally ride the bus to Eagleside School are from the existing neighborhood.

"I think safety should dictate, first and foremost, the bus stop," she said. "I hope they'll move the bus stop to a safer location that will suit all of the children's needs. They can add a stop if need be. Why they chose to put the stop there again upsets me as a parent."

Sgt. Dorell Green, a school resource officer with the Fountain Police Department, said the law requires a sex offender to stay more than 100 feet from a bus stop. However, he said the situation is different because it's the stop, and not the offender, who moved.

"You can't expect a person to sell his home (and move away) when something has moved into his area," Green said. "It's easier to move if (an offender) is in a rental unit. Bus stops are kind of a gray area that we'd have to look at. If the stop hadn't moved, we would have contacted the offender and his probation officer and let them know we'd be watching the area closely."

The district said it will announce an alternate location for the stop next week. Until then, the Lake Avenue stop will remain in use, and the district plans to have personnel there for additional security as kids are getting on and off the bus.

One parent said she's not satisfied with the change because the plan only involves elementary students and not middle school students who use the same stop.

However, Fountain Police Chief Todd Evans said he doesn't believe that's the case after speaking with the district Wednesday.

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