Our House is Open: School Bus Safety

Dale Kirby (MHA, St. John’s North) today posed questions regarding the safety of the province’s children, asking whether the decades-old Department of Education regulations related to school buses should be amended to reflect a time of busier roads and longer distances.

"We are hearing too many stories about young children forced to walk to school along busy highways and dangerous roads,” Kirby said today. “Those children are in my district, St. John’s North, and in every district in the province. I have one constituent just days away from giving birth who must choose between sending her young child to school on his own – crossing Thorburn Road to get there – or taking her newborn infant out in all kinds of weather so she can accompany the older child.”

In rural areas, Kirby noted, young children can be bused for an hour or more to get to and from school.

Kirby is calling on the department to conduct a review of current school bus legislation.

“The last substantive change in school busing legislation was changing the required one-mile distance from the school to the metric 1.6 kilometres,” he said today. “We cannot continue gambling with children’s lives.”

Here is the question, as it would have been asked in the House:
NDP Caucus: “Our House is Open”
Question for Nov. 22, 2011
Dale Kirby, MHA, St. John’s North

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education.

School closures in St. John’s have meant that children within the legislated walking distance from school have to cross many more busy streets to get to school. Some parents must walk their children to different schools, and still get to work on time or care for a newborn, but their children aren’t allowed on a school bus.

Mr. Speaker, rural school closures are forcing children into very long bus trips over roads that are hazardous in winter.

Mr. Speaker, our school bus policies have not changed for decades and need to be modernized to meet today’s needs.

Mr. Speaker, I ask the Minister, when will she conduct a review and public consultation of school bus transportation policies and legislation?

Associated Caucus Members: 

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