HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Horry County Schools updated its website Tuesday after it said school buses would no longer enter gated communities.

Editor’s note: The district’s website initially said buses wouldn’t enter gated communities, but was later updated to state that buses would enter gated communities, but not “without dedicated security personnel or an approved plan to operate inside the gates.” The original story is below in its entirety.

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — A recent guideline change from the Horry County School District says that school buses will not enter gated communities. Buses will pick up students along the road at each community’s main gates. 

The guideline revision will take effect for the 2022-2023 school year. The change was announced via a website change and a social media post. 

Parents of students that live in the Waterway Palms Plantation gated community in Carolina Forest are concerned about the safety of their children. 

“There is no safe way to wait on the side of River Oaks for a bus,” mom Ashley Owings said. “We’ve all seen how people drive on that road, and it only takes one person to decide they don’t give a s*** to hit somebody’s kid.”

Waterway Palms Plantation is located right along the busy River Oaks Drive. All three parents News13 spoke with Tuesday brought up a 15-year-old girl that was hit by a car while waiting for her bus. 

“Now they’re gonna have all these kids come out to River Oaks and wait for a school bus?” dad George Flanagan said. “It just doesn’t make sense.”

Parents say the busy road is not the only thing making them concerned. They also worry about the impatient drivers that share the road with the school bus. 

“[There are] people speeding, cause they’re ticked off at the buses stopping and they can’t go anywhere,” mom Carrie Telaak said. “Then getting mad and then trying to go around the buses and potentially hitting children.”

They also said that they feel blind-sided by the school district. 

“They just put it on the website without communicating it,” mom Jaclyn Flanagan said. “There was no email, no communication from Horry county Schools on this huge change.”

Parents are hoping that the school district decides to rethink their decision. 

“I would really like for them to reevaluate the reason they’re doing this and kind of weigh the odds between ‘is what I’m doing this for really more important than the lives of kids,’” Owing said. 

If the school will not re-evaluate, parents said they are at least hoping for some more transparency from the district moving forward. 

“I think it all comes down to transparency and communication,” Jaclyn Flanagan said. “I also believe that there is a way to compromise. Why did they make this change? What were the reasonings behind it?”

Horry County Schools Public Information Officer, Lisa Bourcier, said the changes are brand new for this school year. 

“The revised guidelines is due to route efficiencies and the responsibility of maintaining private security devices,” Bourcier said. 

She also said that there is enough time before the school year begins for the district to “work with any communities that have some concerns.”