Letters: Why did school board take our buses?

School buses will be cancelled in June 2016, despite numerous protests from many of the 250-plus families it affects

Editor, The News:

We live in Thornhill about five kilometres from Samuel Robertson Technical. We just went through the Grade 8 registration for our eldest son. Sadly, he did not get assigned to his school of choice but instead, was assigned to our catchment high school, Garibaldi secondary. Garibaldi is 15 km from our house.

To travel to Garibaldi we have to pass SRT. School buses will be cancelled in June 2016, despite numerous protests from many of the 250-plus families it affects.

At this time, I have no idea how my son will get to and from school in the fall. My husband and I both work, and already have two other boys to drive to school.

It seems incomprehensible to me that the school board has taken away our school buses.

It is an educational right for my son to attend school, and if he has no transport, it is the school board’s obligation to provide it.

I have concerns about what happens when my son, and other vulnerable teens, are left unsupervised before and after school. As a public health nurse with preventive teaching, it is a well-known fact that if children are left unsupervised, they are more prone to crime and substance use.

In fact, statistically speaking, the crime rate is most high between the hours of 3  p.m. to 6 p.m. In this case, the school board is denying our children a safe environment and are compromising their health.

I have written letters to the school trustees, the mayor, the MLA, and the minister of education. The replies I received have offered little comfort.

The school trustees have offered after-school clubs which, although an option, does not deal with the complex issues of the modern family life.

The extra time and financial costs of additional driving results in  negative health implications to an already overworked, overstressed society.

It increases traffic congestion, air pollution, and affects pedestrian safety on our already overcrowded roads. It is a shame that the school board cannot see the bigger implications on our community’s health and wellness, and a shame that our mayor has not supported the public protests against the cancellation of school buses.

Melanie Gaudet

Maple Ridge