Jonesboro School District Transportation Policy Changed After Student Dies

SEPTEMBER 24, 2004 -- Posted at: 10:35pm CDT

JONESBORO & NEAR WALCOTT, AR - Soon vehicles, buses and children's own feet are the only way Kindergarten through Fifth Grade students in the Jonesboro education system will be able to get to and from school.

Willa Wiggins, a woman who has lived next to South Elementary School for 40 years, said, "We've had three children go through South School, two grandchildren go through and we have two grandchildren there presently, and I think it's a very good idea."

Starting September 29th, kids will no longer be able to ride bicycles, scooters or skateboards -- any wheeled mode of transportation. Parents and grandparents we spoke with have mixed feelings about the modification.

"It would probably make the children feel like that they're being punished in a way, or maybe being restricted, so you know I guess it just depends on what side you fall on, but if it's for safety, that would be obviously the number one priority," said Fred Estell, a parent of a South School student.

Melissa Murray said she doesn't think any changes are required, "I've been picking someone up here for three years, and have not seen any kind of problems. It's been wonderfully monitored. I've always seen the adults in the right places. The children have been appropriate."

The change in policy comes after Brian Davis-Cosbey was killed on August 31st, after he was hit by a bus while riding his bicycle near South Elementary School. His grandmother, Mary Smart, supports the new rule and thinks other school should follow.

"...because this tragedy can happen in any community, and I don't want to ever see another parent or grandparent go through this," added Smart.

Smart explained that the always grinning, always giggling boy was her pride and joy.

Smart reminisced about nature walks she would take with her grandson, "He had to stop. He had to look at the bugs on the ground, you know. He had to look at the grass, and every mud puddle, and there were a bunch of them back there, he had to go through all the mud puddles with a stick."

Mary Smart can no longer go on adventures in the woods with Davis-Cosbey.

"I miss him, but I know that he's safe," she said.

Her solo journey now begins to get crossing guards at all area schools and get everyone involved in school safety in honor of Brian.

"...and I think he would want something positive to come out of this too.. I really do," added Smart.

Mary Smart hopes to start a scholarship fund in honor of her grandson in the future. If you have any safety program ideas for her or would like to make a donation for crossing guard gear or in honor of Brian Davis-Cosbey, you may send a note to:

Brian Davis-Cosbey
c/o Mary Smart
1466 Greene County Road 707
Paragould, AR 72450