March 6, 2015
On November 12, 2014, Maximus McCullough’s world came crashing down. His 14-year-old daughter, Faith, was killed when she fell into the path of a school bus on East High Avenue. He feels that her death was a preventable tragedy; therefore, he pledges to educate people about safety in school zones through an organization called the Faith McCullough Foundation.
According to the police report, eyewitnesses told police that Faith and a friend were playing and rolling down a hill around 3 p.m. on the side of East High School as the bus was traveling west. The report stated that the bus driver, whose name hasn’t been released, stopped. Faith was disoriented from rolling, stumbled into the street, and was run over by the rear wheels of the bus. However, in a still frame of the bus video, Faith is nearly completely visible through the glass door. Her silhouette is identifiable, and you can see students standing on the bus reaching out the window in an attempt to help her. The driver is looking to her right, attempting to use her side view mirrors. At this point, Faith is only a foot away from the roadway edge. The GPS speed showed that she accelerated to 10 MPH and there was no braking. She veered left into an oncoming lane and went an additional 60 feet after hitting Faith.
On January 21, Youngstown City prosecutors told police that wouldn’t be filing charges in connection to Faith’s death. McCullough is justifiably disappointed. The prosecution team refused to investigate the incident or even prosecute. They simply told him that it was an accident and not a crime. McCullough states, “This is a tragedy because there is no justice for the people of Youngstown.” More than anything, he wants accountability for children everywhere.
As a way to educate those about safety in school zones he created the Faith McCullough Foundation Website. This is a foundation that promotes child safety and awareness by the use of technology and was started with the help of Faith’s family and friends. This foundation won’t accept any more excuses for child safety. The website provides a way for concerned parents to get unbiased information from reports of other parents of unsafe conditions that surround children in school zones.
These reports create “Faith Zone” schools. These are schools that make people accountable for child safety on and off the bus. There are a few steps to making a school a “Faith Zone.” First, is voluntarily entering your school into the database with contact information of the person in charge of child safety, usually the superintendent. Second, the person in charge will answer reports. Lastly, if any action is needed it will be immediately taken.
Some examples of things to report on the website include: vehicles speeding in school zones, unsafe school ground conditions, bullying, horseplay, any bad behavior from children, irresponsibility for children’s safety by any adult / school official, and any suspicious behavior (like adults loitering by the schools and talking to the children.) Your identity will remain anonymous, and any unsafe condition will be reported to the proper authority so that change can occur. This is a great way for people that take child safety seriously to get their voice heard without any fear of repercussions for reporting unsafe conditions. McCullough maintains, “Education starts with child safety.”
In the future, more advance procedures will be incorporated. There will be a team of people who will look at schools and give a full report on what they can do to make children safer. These reports are available for the world to see and the person in authority can publicly address that report. One of the key focuses of this website will be the attitudes of those in charge in regards to child safety. For example, what if people are speeding through school zones? Their wish is to see how the school is wishing to combat this. They are hoping for background checks on all people that come in contact with children, danger zone focus and potential threats to children, and child monitoring on all school property. The foundation would like to recognize schools and organizations who are stepping up to the plate to make children safe. They hope to give award to schools who are taking child safety seriously.
Faith’s death won’t be in vain. Maximus states, “I had my time with my daughter. Anything to create awareness for child safety, I’ll continue to do. We need a community that’s pro-life, pro-family.” Above all, he wants everyone to remember Faith as a sweet girl who was everyone’s friend. She was talented in music and was wise beyond her years. The Faith McCullough Foundation aims to stop another preventable tragedy from happening so nobody else has to lose their daughter at a young age.