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Growing concern over drivers passing stopped school buses

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC-TV) - When a school bus stops and the flashing lights come on, cars must stop. But that's not happening outside School 35 on Field Street in Rochester, and parents are frustrated and concerned.

"It's very concerning," Marie Smith said.

Smith's grandchildren attend the school, and said she sees this happen every day.

"Well the crossing guard gets out there and she literally steps out before anybody else comes and cars have total disregard to the kids crossing," Smith said.

The crossing guard who patrols the intersection in front of the school spoke with us off camera. She said she has been threatened when she asks drivers to stop. 

One man News 8 spoke to admitted he has passed a school bus illegally. 

"Everybody is in a hurry and i'm one of them," Samuel Jacobs said.

The Rochester City School District said it's not only happening near School 35, but everywhere across the city. Since the beginning of the school year, nearly 60 drivers have illegally passed stopped school buses. 

School officials say offenders will be reported to the state. 

"We're doing our best here at the City School District... that we pick up every child on the same side of the street, that we don't have many crossovers," Wayne Kittelberger said. Sometimes it might be impossible, but we make sure that the child sees the driver and driver sees the child."

But Smith says if this issue isn't taken care of soon,  a child is going to get seriously hurt.  

"I think that the people who are the offenders, something should definitely happen to them," Smith said. "They should hit them in the pocket because that hurts the most."

It is legal to pass a stopped school bus when it is on the other side of the median -- there must be some sort of concrete or grass barrier separating you and the bus.

According to the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee, it could cost you as much as $400 and five points on your license for illegally passing a stopped school bus.

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