Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It's Reasons Like This That Make Us Want a Coroner's Inquest

We couldn't believe the news about the high school swim team that traveled in bad weather conditions to a swim meet in Miramichi yesterday. [Click here to see article on CBC Radio News]

One city (Fredericton), two high schools, two principals and two completely different interpretations of the bad weather guidelines led one team to leave in bad weather and the other to wait for two hours until the weather improved. We're just lucky that there wasn't another tragedy like the one that took our son's lives.

If the people in charge of the lives of young people can make a bad decision like that with impunity, and then try to defend it when they are under so much scrutiny, shows how broken that system really is.

Ana has it on good authority that the principal at Leo Hayes didn’t even know that the swim team was on its way to the Miramichi after the decision was made to delay Yellow school buses by two hours. We understand that it was a done deal - they were already on the road before he even knew about it.

It's obvious that the school system has not learned from the tragedy of January 12, 2008 that took the lives of seven basketball players and an adult. This is a perfect example of why We need a Bad Weather law to be enforced.

Guidelines, regulations, rules and policies are not followed again and the Leo Hayes High school took a chance with the children's lives. This is a bad practice that has been going on for years and years and it's still going on in spite of the horrible tragedy last winter that killed ours sons.

When will the people who make these decisions, learn? The school system has guidelines and policies to follow for extracurricular activities and failed to do so again. That's why we need a Van Angels Law, a law that has to be obeyed, not a rule, a regulation, a policy or a guideline that can be open to any body's opinion.

A coroner’s inquest is required to deal with all aspects of extracurricular transportation for all schools. This incident in Fredericton just proves how problematic the whole issue of traveling to extracurricular activities really is. Only a Coroner’s Inquest can make recommendations that will be taken seriously.

We want a Van Angels law to be passed so that every school will know what to expect - not find ourselves in a situation where the Leo Hayes High School swim team takes a risk in bad weather while the Fredericton High School swim team doesn't.

A Coroner’s inquest is essential for the consistent protection of our children and the safety of school transportation.