Fed up: Students protest bus overcrowding in Newfoundland
- September 14, 2009 2:56 PM |
- By Your Voice
Bio/About: My name is Jodie Norman and I'm a single mother of two. My 4-year-old son rides this overcrowded bus everyday from Pacquet to Baie Verte Academy and I am not pleased. I remember how I felt being crammed going to school, and I don't want it for my child. I've lived in Pacquet, Newfoundland all of my life, and rode a bus like this every day. I'm the youngest parent on our committee and agree with parents and students 100 per cent.
My story: On Friday, September 11th, 2009, what started out as a regular day with the kids heading back to school, turned into a walk-off at the bottom of Woodstock Hill in Woodstock, Nfld.
Children in the town are concerned for their safety on the school bus that has been issued for both towns of Pacquet and Woodstock. They say they will not return to school on this bus until the problem of over-crowding has been solved.
Students are currently sitting three to a seat and it isn't comfortable, let alone safe. The seats on the bus were measured this weekend and it was concluded that the regular seats are 39 inches long, giving each child 13 inches of space, a little over one foot to sit.
The bus has booster seats for underweight children at the front of the bus, but can only fit two boosters in one seat. So if they can only fit two boosters in one seat how can they expect to fit three regular size students in a smaller seat? They can't. These children are not safe, and if you cannot overload a personal vehicle with children, why should our buses have different rules? They shouldn't and these parents will not allow it.
My son is terrified of the bus ride. No student should be scared to go to school.
Students and parents are fed up with the broken promises. After the closing of Deck Wood Elementary, we were promised that the board of education would leave us with our two school buses. The promises of the board were broken and what we're left with are angry children and frustrated parents.
We will not be walked over any longer. If this takes the entire year, so be it.
Today, Monday, September 14, local parents, myself included, had a meeting with Paul Madison, who is representing the board of Education, and sadly to say, we didn't get too far with a proposal for a second bus. All parents are meeting with Cindy Fleet on, Tuesday, September 15 at 3:00 p.m. and will try to resolve our issue. So hopefully by then we will have answers, and hopefully they will be the ones we want.
Tuesday morning at 7:15 a.m. there will be another protest. Students of Pacquet and Woodstock will be walking off their bus at the turnaround. Locals say, "if we left our dog out in the cold, we would be charged, but now it's okay to let our children ride an overcrowded bus."
Animals have more rights than people these days and both students and parents are fed up and demand answers. We will be protesting until we get the answers we want.
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