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WeGo increasing safety measures after student sexually attacked at bus station


By Brendan Tierney

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    NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WSMV) — WeGo is stepping up security at its downtown Central Station after a man was arrested for sexual battery of a teen during the first week of school.

An average of 2,500 Metro Nashville Public School students ride WeGo buses every day, according to the latest data. Around 1,500 of those students go through the downtown station on their way to and from classes.

A MNPS spokesperson said most of these students riding public transit go to magnet schools or are enrolled outside of their zone. State law does not require a school district to provide school buses for these students.

Fetima Laster’s granddaughter is a freshman at Hume-Fogg High School, and she insists on driving her every morning and afternoon because she doesn’t think the public buses are safe.

“It is scary,” Laster said about last week’s attack. “It’s just too much going on in the world. Here in Nashville, I just hear so much going on downtown. It’s just not safe like it used to be.”

WeGo said there were 68 arrests at the downtown station last year, including five students. Another 58 people were suspended from their bus ridership for other incidents, including 14 students.

To counteract this, WeGo staffs unarmed security and extra-duty Metro Police officers from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., according to a spokesperson. There can be up to 13 officers there during the peak school travel times to watch for students.

Laster said that is still not enough for her and other parents that wrap around the block at Hume-Fogg waiting for their students to be dismissed. She wants students to focus on their work in the classroom instead of getting without an incident.

“I feel safer knowing I am getting her there safely than worrying about somebody else getting her there,” Laster said.

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