Nfld. & Labrador

Swift Current parents still unhappy with school decision

The Eastern School District announced Wednesday night that it will not close Swift Current Academy, but many parents are still not satisfied.

Sending grade 10-12 students to Clarenville is unacceptable, they say

Parents are worried about how the bus ride will impact students' education and well-being. (CBC)

The Eastern School District announced Wednesday night that it no longer plans to close Swift Current Academy, but many parents are still not satisfied.

Parents and students had strongly protested the school district's proposal to shut the K-12 school in eastern Newfoundland and bus students about 50 km to Clarenville instead.

Under the district's new proposal, K-9 students will continue to go to Swift Current, but students in grades 10-12 will have to make the daily trek starting next year.

Despite the partial victory, many parents are still unhappy with the plan.

"I'm not impressed at all," said Marie Butt.

"Yes, we are thankful that they left K to 9, but it should have been K to 12," said Butt. "We need the whole school."

While her younger child will continue to go to Swift Current, her older son is one of the students that would be bussed out of town.

Her biggest concern is dangerous road conditions during the winter.

"We know what the road is like," said Butt.

"There are times when it's just a beautiful day in Clarenville and up here it's just terrible, stormy, snowy. Our kids will get trapped down there so often, and miss so much school, it's just not fair to them."

She believes the long ride could also have a negative impact on some students' education.

"What good is it to have our child on a bus to Clarenville when they're going to be too tired to learn?" she wondered.

She's also worried some students could grow so frustrated by the ride that they give up.

"I'm afraid that there will be kids who will be saying 'well, I'm going to drop out, forget it.'"

Butt says parents will continue to fight the school district's plan, and will soon meet with their MHA to go over strategies.

"We are not happy with our high school students being gone, and we have to do everything we can to reverse this."

The school was one of five the school district proposed closing next year.

The board will vote on its revised plans on Dec. 13.

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