Friday, February 20, 2009

N.B. superintendent wants answers on why wheel fell off team bus - So do We!!

We'd also like to see the so-called "strict" new policies and guidelines for school transportation, but for some reason, the Department of Education can't seem to find the time to photocopy the paperwork, stick it in an envelope, put a stamp on the cover and send the letter to us by mail.

Maybe it's because the new policies / guidelines aren't worth the paper they're written on!! We believe the "new" policies and guidelines just the same old policies and guidelines with a fresh coat of paint to make it look like things have changed when it comes to transporting children. Excuse us for being cynical Minister Lamrock, but the day last week when the wheel fell off that bus full of young basketball players from Jacquet River, we lost our faith in your so called new "strict" guidelines and policies.

Come on Mr. Lamrock, you have to do better than that.

It's been more than five weeks since Kelly Lamrock appeared on CBC TV on Friday, January 9, 2009 saying the new guidelines would be released the next week. It's February 20 and we're still waiting....

Meantime, a whole busload of young basketball players from Jacquet River nearly gets killed and the District 15 Superintendent John McLaughlin says he "wants answers". Well so do WE!!!

Answer this:

Exactly how DOES a wheel fall off a vehicle that has just been inspected according to the super strict new policies of the Department of Education?

Just how strict the policies are can be left up to one's imagination, obviously, not too strict if a wheel can fall off a bus less than three days after its inspected. What really gets our goat is that we've been asking for the new policies or guidelines (or whatever they're calling them this week, rules, regulations, they seem to have a different name for everything related to this issue) for more than a month and we still haven't seen them, but Mr. McLaughlin apparently has.

The policies can't be worth very much if less than a month after their introduction, a whole busload of kids going to a basketball game nearly gets killed.

This is just another good reason why we absolutely NEED a "LAW" - what we call a Van Angels Law covering the transportation of children to and from extra-curricular events. Not a policy, not a guideline, not a rule nor a regulation. A LAW!!

You decide for yourself whether New Brunswick's Department of Education has become a laughing stock of the country for the way its handled this file.

Ana and Isabelle


A New Brunswick school district superintendent is investigating how a wheel flew off a bus carrying Jacquet River School's Grade 8 basketball team.

Check out the CBC Story on line.

17/02/2009 3:48:22 PM

CBC News

The team was returning from a provincial tournament in Hartland on the weekend when a wheel fell off the 24-passenger bus and rolled into the ditch near Woodstock.

No one was hurt in the incident but John McLaughlin, superintendent of District 15, said he wants to know how the accident happened. Any findings could lead to more changes to its student travel policy, he said.

"We do have a new policy in place and some very strict guidelines on what we need to follow and we'll need to look at should any of that be changed in light of this situation."

So far, mechanics have not figured out how the wheel became loose and fell off.

The Department of Public Safety, which oversees commerical vehicle inspection and safety, made the decision to investigate the incident on Tuesday. The provincial government took control of the bus from the station where it was being repaired in Woodstock.

The bus is owned by the Village of Belledune and is used by different groups, including the school.

Belledune Mayor Nick Duivenvoorden said the bus went through a full 21-point inspection in November and it had its wheels torqued recently.

He said he's baffled how the accident happened.

"If I had any inclination that the vehicle wasn't safe, I would do whatever I had to do to make sure it wouldn't go on the road," he said.

The province's travel policy was put in place in September after a highway accident near Bathurst in January 2008 that killed seven high school basketball players and their coach's wife.

Jacquet River is about 40 kilometres from Bathurst and both schools fall in McLaughlin's district.

Parents and students on the bus said on Monday that they saw the wheel roll past the bus on the road and eventually stop in a nearby snowbank. When they got off the bus, they said even though no one was hurt in the incident, it brought flashbacks of the Bathurst crash.