Roland Butler, Opposition Critic for Education and MHA for the District of
Port De Grave, is once again calling on Education Minister Joan Burke to
address the school busing problem facing many students and parents who live
within the 1.6 kilometre policy.
"Since the decision was made to enforce
the 1.6 kilometre school bus policy, we are hearing more and more concerns
being raised by parents," said Mr. Butler. "We have received several calls
from parents who are worried about the safety of their children. It is
obvious that serious problems exist in some areas of the province and it is
incumbent upon Minister Burke to review the circumstances in each of these
situations. If the minister saw these serious safety issues first hand, I am
certain she would act to find a remedy. I am calling on her to meet with
parents in areas such as Whitborne, Chapel Arm and Conception Bay North to
address their concerns.
"In some cases children are forced to cross busy roads and walk along
major routes that do not have adequate shoulders or sidewalks. This is not
an issue that will go away anytime soon and will actually take on more
urgency in the coming months as the safety concerns become even more severe
during the winter. With icy roads and snowbanks making it even more
difficult to walk on the shoulder of the road, safety will become even more
of a factor. It is necessary to have this issue addressed before the weather
Butler says the Eastern School District is now strictly enforcing the 1.6
kilometre policy for the first time. Up until now, the policy was not
enforced and students were permitted to use the bus if space was available.
Unfortunately, the school board has cut the number of buses in service which
has eliminated additional space.