Bus changes blamed on after-school violence

By ZOE SATHERLEY

REDUCING violence and bullying by students at Lismore's main school bus interchange was a driving factor behind Kirklands' bus timetable changes, it was disclosed yesterday.

Before the changes, more than 2000 students from over 50 local primary and high schools would congregate twice a day at the interchange outside Trinity Catholic College.

Police Duty Officer Insp Tony Crandell confirmed that at the peak of the bus stop violence issue several months ago, police would be called to attend incidents almost every second day.

Kirklands general manager Peter Shepherd said the new timetables had halved the number of students having to change buses.

However, the changes have caused a public outcry.

Mr Shepherd said the changes aimed to get as many students as possible to and from school without them having to change buses, slashing the number of violent incidents at the Trinity bus interchange.

He said the bus stop violence issue was not Trinity Catholic College's fault or responsibility. It just happened that the main bus interchange was near their school.

Insp Crandell said both students and teachers had been the victims of intimidation and assault.

He said police would be called to the interchange when incidents happened, but 'once we left, it was not unusual for another incident to occur'.

Police and the Lismore City Council were so concerned they called a summit to developed a busstop code of conduct and arranged, temporarily, for council rangers to supervise the interchange between 3pm and 4pm.

Mr Shepherd acknowledged the confusion, but said the situation was 'constantly improving'.



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