To The Editor,
On reading the Minden Times article “Parents frustrated by school board bus policy” published on Sept. 7, I was dismayed to learn of the Trillium Lakelands District School Board’s policy regarding busing eligibility.
My in-laws currently live on Deep Bay Road and I have travelled it hundreds of times in the last 40 years. I can assure you that if I saw a four-year-old child strolling along the narrow gravel shoulder alone, I would call the police. Regardless of the particular road in question however, the school board’s single-minded obsession with kilometres when assessing eligibility is alarming.
Clearly, several other factors should be considered, for instance, the age of the child. It is ridiculous and irresponsible to place the same physical expectations on, and assume the same level of responsibility and decision making skills in a four-year-old leaving home for the first time as a pre-teen approaching adulthood.
As well, the type of road being travelled should be a factor. A street in town with wide sidewalks, crosswalks and low speed limits is not the same as a paved two lane road with narrow, gravel shoulders and a 70 kilometer speed limit. Whoever suggested as an alternative that this little boy should wade through two kilometeres of snow covered fields and forests was obviously being petty, which seems to be a recurring theme in the school board’s handling of this situation.
Maybe they have some kind of worker’s paradise over at TLDSB, but most people can’t just stroll into their boss’s office and dictate their hours. As well, not everyone has extended family close by to help out.
It seems incredibly callous and arbitrary for the school board to just wash their hands of any responsibility of this child’s, or any child’s safety because of 0.4 km. They may not be responsible legally, but as their policy is creating a dangerous and easily avoidable situation, morally, I say the responsibility lies with them.
Clearly they are afraid that it would set a precedent if this child were to be picked up. Good. Cases such as this should be evaluated individually, based on several criteria, with children’s safety being paramount.
Isn’t providing a safe, easily accessible education to every child the main goal here? Or is it bickering over 0.4 kilometres while a half full bus drives past this little boy’s driveway?