Valley school districts rerouting buses to avoid freeways

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MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

As the number of shooting incidents on Valley freeways grows, some Valley school districts are rerouting their buses as a precaution.

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Earlier this week, Arizona Department of Public Safety Director Col. Frank Milstead called the string of freeway shootings "domestic terrorism crimes."

School districts are taking the threat seriously, modifying bus routes to keep students out of the line of fire.

So far, four districts have confirmed that they are modifying their bus routes off Valley freeways.

"As a precautionary measure, we have rerouted our buses away from the area of Hwy. 51 and Shea Blvd.," read a letter to parents in the Paradise Valley School District.

"I want all school district vehicles to refrain from using any freeway, I-10, I-17, 101, 202, 303 or the 51," Marvene Lobato, superintendent of the Fowler Elementary School District, said a directive Wednesday. "I am being conscientious that whomever is demonstrating such bad judgment has no regard for human life; and I don't want our students and staff in harm's way.

"I realize this may be inconvenient; however, life is far too precious to ignore this behavior," the directive read.

The Tolleson Elementary School District does not use freeways for its in-district routes, but it is taking action for out-of-district routes.

"For students who have to be transported out of district, we have had to re-route onto other roadways until the situation is resolved," Superintendent Lupita Hightower said.

Kyrene School District send a letter to parents Friday saying that its buses would stay off the freeways until further notice. The district also warned that the route changes could cause some delays and promised to keep parents in the loop.

On Sunday, three more districts said they would be making changes. Buses for Mesa Public Schools, Deer Valley Unified District and Dysart Unified School District do not use the freeways for their normal pick-up/drop-off routes, but extracurricular activities are different. Representatives for all three districts said their buses will stick to surface streets rather than using I-10 when transporting kids to and from those activities until further notice.

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