Parents upset about bus stop behind gentlemen's club

Parents concerned over location of bus stop. / Lindsey Theis

In the Horry County School District, each day more than 19,000 students rely on the 361 school buses. There are 7,000 bus stops and the buses clock more than 3.5 million miles each year.

One bus stop in the district is located at 4th Street and 30th Avenue South in Atlantic Beach. That stop has a group of parents upset about the location. It's between two parking lots and sits directly behind a strip club.

"I had to explain to my four year old what topless was," Misty Umphries said.

The mother of four says she now waits every morning with her children at the bus stop. Windy Prince, a mother of three, also says the bus stop shouldn't be where it is.

"I don't want my children being picked up behind that. I'm not knocking what they do, but I just don't think it's appropriate," she said.

Even Joey Zilker, who works at the club, agrees. "I liked to stand on the side of my club, but as far as being behind it to get on the school bus, it's ridiculous," he said.

"I don't see anything that needs to be done with the bus stop at this point in time," Horry County School's Transportation Director Jim Wright says.

Wright says his office receives and documents 25 or so complaints a week. He says he had never gotten a complaint about the location of the Atlantic Beach bus stop.

Umphries and Price say they have complained at their children's schools.

Price says she complained when she registered her kids for school. "{I was told} I don't think so, and I was like, for real? But it's behind an adult entertainment center!"

Umphries says she called them. "At the primary {school}, I did talk to one of the principals, and he wasn't aware, but you know he said he would look into it, and I left it at that. Well, it's not changed."

Wright says the schools should have given the women phone numbers for a bus office, which would then contact the transportation office.

"You got to make the call to make the complaint. If you don't get to the right people, and they don't get the right people out there, then it's not going to change," Wright said. "Where do you want me to put them, do you want me to put them on {Highway} 17? Do you understand what I'm saying? We could either drop them out in front of the building or behind the building. We prefer not to be making stops on 17 Business, in front of the building."

The parents suggested moving the bus stop a few blocks south to 32nd Avenue South, where a community center with a playground is.

"Now we have a kid walking a long way. If I move it to 32nd, some poor kid is going to have to walk all the way from 29th," Wright says.

The parents say the bus stop was moved for one week during Bikefest in May, and would be easy to be moved for good. Wright said he wasn't aware of the stop moving.

"We may have added a stop. We do the same thing if it's raining," he said.

"If it was in any other community, and there were moms that were raising sand, I think it would have been done quick like," Price said.

Price is a member of the Atlantic Beach Town Council. She says she will ask council to lobby the school district to move the bus stop.