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A few weeks ago, my first child boarded the school bus for the first time. With a jumbled mix of emotions, we did what we needed to do to make it happen. I, the mom, fought tears as we followed the bus around the twisty roads of a crazy route as my younger child cried hysterically that he wanted “sister” home with the famiIy. The driver was wonderfully kind, both to Mom and to child, which did alleviate some of the fear. After a few days, as always, the initial anxieties eased and we were into a groove.

Now it was time for reality-based tension to set in. We live on Route 119. It is fast and furious at various hours of the day and much to my dismay, this seemed to be particularly true at bus boarding time. Not to say that I was completely oblivious to this fact prior to our experience, as I am a self-proclaimed “hovering mom,” but after watching big rigs humming around corners at excessive speed and visualizing wounded children, I had had enough.

Long story longer, I called the Pepperell Police Department in a bit of a rage. I was not sure where to start but I definitely needed to. The dispatcher politely directed me to the voice mail of Chief Davis, which I was certain that I utilized all of the time on. Much to my satisfaction, he called me back. He was professional and understanding, despite my rambling message about no one doing anything until after a child has been hurt or worse. Not only did he address my issues and concerns with what I considered to be an appropriate response (which is sometimes challenging to do with me as I, as most mothers do, have a very high bar), he actually made a commitment to me and all of the other families in this area that he followed through on. Since our conversation, the Chief has assigned a car pretty regularly at various locations on the bus route. It may or may not be a deterrent, but they are definitely present.

I feel safer and more confident knowing that the Pepperell Police Department is as they are and should be. They are proactive in our community, particularly around the safety of our children. It has been my experience that they seem to address problems before they occur. I have heard about it with their thorough background checks as a preventive measure with the carnivals coming to town and now I have witnessed it personally with a car positioned on my child’s bus route. It is very challenging to be a parent in today’s world but it helps to know that the good guys are right here to help, even before we need them to! Thank you so very much! We are truly grateful!

The ZACHARAKIS family

Pepperell

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