Saturday, May 30, 2009

Call For Boycott Of Extra-Curricular Transportation Survey

On Thursday, May 28, 2009, I found out that District 15 is doing a survey called Winter Extra-Curricular Travel Parental Survey. Apparently the survey was sent out to every parent in the District 15 with instructions to fill it out and return to Superintendent John McLaughlin by June 5, 2009. (Survey reproduced below).

After reviewing the survey we have to say that we are thoroughly disgusted with both the Department and the District. We are calling upon all parents to boycott the survey and reject the Department’s sneaky attempts to find a way around implementing the common sense recommendations of the Coroners Jury into the death of ours sons on January 12, 2008.

It’s obvious to anyone who reads this survey that the Department does not have any intention of following the Coroners Jury recommendations and that they had planned this long in advance of the Inquest which closed only two weeks ago. It’s a slap in the face. Their complete disregard for the office of the Coroner shows how weak the Coroners Act is and how this whole inquest process was designed right from the very start to make the parents believe something good was actually going to come out of the entirely preventable deaths of our children.

We can see now how the politicians and the administrators say one thing and do another and how they really don’t care about the safety of children, for if they did, they would never have sent out this survey to the parents in this District. Instead of wasting tax-payers dollars on a useless survey which completely contradicts the recommendations of the Coroners Jury, they should already be working on implementing the most important recommendations which are 1) the Department of Education take full responsibility for transporting children to off-site extra-curricular activities, 2) nothing less than Class 2 yellow school bus drivers with endorsement B and E driving yellow school buses or Multifunctional vehicles, 3) ban 7 and 15 passengers vehicles, 4) and a bad weather law.
Out of these four main recommendations, all others will follow.

Below is the actual survey in text format and we also scanned the sheet. You can click on the images to see the larger picture. The original was printed on a 8x14 sheet of paper so we had to break it up into three images.

Section 1
check appropriate boxes that apply to you as a parent:
one of questions is I have been a volunteer driver in the past for
extracurricular travel

Section 2 is a rating scale
1 very uncomfortable
2 uncomfortable
3 no clear opinion
4 somewhat comfortable
5 very comfortable

Please indicate your comfort level with extra-curricular travel in the
following weather conditions. In all cases, the vehicle will be equipped
with winter tires;
a) a forecast for freezing rain in the travel area
1 2 3 4 5
b) a forescast for 1-5 cm of snowfallf or the travel area
c) a forecast for 6-10 cm of snowfall for travel area
d) a forecast for 11-15 cm of snowfall for travel area

It doesn't mention what type of vehicle if its a 7 passengers van or a
school bus or multifunctional buses also doesn't mention what class driver when they know perfectly well that the jury recommended only class 2 drivers and outright rejected class 4 drivers.

Question 2

Consider the following scenario: Your child's volleyball team is scheduled
to travel in three rented seven-passenger vans to a tournament in Fredericton. The van meets all safety standards and has been equipped with good quality winter tires. The weather forecast is for 7cm of snow beginning one hour before the team is expected to arrive at its destination.

By the time the team arrives in Fredericton, there will be an expected 2-4 cm of snow on the ground. The team is planning to spend the night in Fredericton. There is no forecast for wind or freezing rain. The team is leaving early enough that they expect to be in Fredericton during daylight hours. The school principal has attempted to get a school bus, but there is none available.

Please select only one of the following responses:

The trip should continue
The trip should be cancelled
Not enough information to make a decision

What do they think they are doing?

What do they think they are doing? Believe me, this was very disturbing to a lot of people. I have received phone calls from many people who said that they are just going to tear it up.

Its sneaky and ill-conceived and shows how little respect that the Department of Education has, not only for our children who were killed in a terrible tragedy, but also for the Coroners Jury which clearly recommended that children be driven to extra curricular activities by Class 2 drivers and in yellow school buses or multifunctional vehicles ONLY.

The Coroners Jury recommended banning 7 and 15 passengers vans. In this survey the premise is that a hypothetical team is going on a tournament out of town. Tournaments are always overnight stays. They never travel back and forth when they are on a tournament. The survey also says they are only using good quality winter tires. Again they don’t mention the class of driver, and the whole issue of the weather which was such a huge part of the Inquest, forming one of its major recommendations regarding a bad weather law seems to be completely ignored. Why doesn’t this survey mention that they are checking with Environment Canada and the DOT and the highway patrol driver if it’s a storm alert. On a regular school day the principal has no authority to close the schools. The Transport Manager is the person who decides whether a regular school days begins when there is a storm alert.

This same person should be involved in extra-curricular activities since the Principal cannot make a decision on his or her own. The Principal must go through the proper channels to get the information about the weather before students leave the school for extra curricular activities. The Principal is responsible for checking with the Transport Manager or are they not. Who decides????? There are so many ways they can find out about the weather and that’s why the Coroners Jury recommended a bad weather law in the first place. This is also why the Coroners Jury recommended Class 2 bus drivers only. They are trained drivers who know what to do in weather conditions.

Boycott this disrespectful survey

This survey is so disrespectful of the District 15 and the Department of Education. To even think of doing this survey, within two weeks of the inquest into the deaths of our sons is so insensitive and shows how far the government will go to ignore the common sense recommendations of the Coroners Jury.

Everyone in this province should be outraged and we encourage parents to boycott the survey to foil the Department’s plans. Parents please think twice before you agree to participate in the Class 4 driver’s training that the Department intends to offer starting in June. Do you really want to take on the responsibility for the safety and the lives of up to 24 children by agreeing to drive one of those huge multifunctional vehicles that will be used to transport children to off site activities? You will be fully responsible and the Department of Education will wash its hands of you, leaving you to deal with any legal consequences.

Instead of driving these huge vehicles with a ridiculous seven hour training program offered by the Department join your children at an off-site game and cheer them on.

Parents be a passenger not a driver.

Leave the responsibility up to the Department of Education which is an important recommendation of the Coroners Jury.

Leave the coaching up to the coaches.

Leave the teaching up to the teachers.

Leave the volunteering up to the volunteers.

Leave the parenting up to the parents.

Leave the driving up to the experts - Class 2 drivers. They are professionals who are highly skilled with extensive training and they do this for a living. They will get our children to the their destinations safely and parents will be worry free.

Isabelle and Ana