Thursday, December 31, 2009

Education Department Won't Take 21 Passenger MFAVs off the Road Despite Liability Issues

BHS Phantoms new multifunction vehicle in Goodyear Tire parking lot in Bathurst October 19, 2009One of the issues that has us extremely concerned about the safety of children is the fact that, despite warnings from experts across Canada, the New Brunswick Department of Education refuses to take the 21 passenger Multi Function Activity Vehicles off the road until scientific studies prove that it is properly outfitted with winter tires.

Premier Shawn GrahamWe find it unbelievable that everyone - all the way from the top of the heap including the Premier, Shawn Graham (photo at right), the Minister of Education Roland Hache, the Minister of Transportation Denis Landry, the Minister of Public Safety John Foran, and the District 15 Superintendent John McLaughlin all the the way down to the Principal of Bathurst High School Colleen Ramsay, and the teachers and volunteers who drive these vehicles are willing to take such risks when they know full well that the safety of these vehicles with mixed tires is still undetermined.

Bathurst High School's 21 passenger MFAV
Then again, we shouldn't be surprised. Look what they did on January 12, 2008 and how every single person called to defend the government's position at the Coroners Inquest in May covered their own - and their employers' - butts with the oft-repeated line "It's not my job" or "I didn't know" or "It's not my responsibility."

District 15 Superintendent John McLaughlin and Bathurst High School Principal Colleen Ramsay after Ramsay testified on Day 6 of the Coroners Inquest in Bathurst, NB

Then there is the BS (BureaucrateSe) we have to contend with every time we deal with the government. Here's a good example of what happened when we asked a simple question of John McLaughlin, Superintendent of District 15 (seen in photograph above helping Bathurst High School Principal Colleen Ramsay into a vehicle after her testimony at the Coroners Inquest in May). You will note, we never did get an answer. We've also asked the same question of Valerie Kilfoil, Director of Communications for the Department of Education, the Minister of Education, Roland Hache and the Minister of Transportation, Denis Landry. None of them can say YES or NO to a simple question: Are these MFAVs still on the road or not? Instead, we get these long winded replies that never actually answer the question. They have obviously been told what to say because they're all saying the same thing while not answering the question.

____ First Email Inquiry ____

From: Isabelle & Allan
Sent: Monday, November 30, 2009 2:29 PM
To: McLaughlin, John (ED15)
Cc: marcella kelly; ana acevedo
Subject: 21 passenger MFAV

Hi John

I heard a rumor that the 21 passenger MFAV at the Bathurst High School is off the road until the tire issue is resolved. Is it just BHS or all the districts?


___ First Response from John McLaughlin ___

From: McLaughlin, John (ED15)
To: Isabelle & Allan
Sent: Tuesday, December 01, 2009 3:17 PM
Subject: RE: 21 passenger MFAV

Good afternoon Isabelle,

There has not been any district directive to schools other than that they must comply with Department of Education Policies 512 and 513 and District Education Council Policies E-8 and E-8a. Bathurst High School has made an internal decision that their current extracurricular transportation needs are being met by using their larger multifunctional activity vehicle as well as other vehicles that also meet the policy standards.

All of our schools are in compliance with the policies.

I trust this answers your questions.



___ Second Email From Isabelle Hains ____

From: Isabelle & Allan
To: McLaughlin, John (ED15)
Sent: Tue Dec 01 15:30:05 2009
Subject: Re: 21 passenger MFAV

You didnt answer my question. Is the 21 passenger MFAV at Bathurst High School off the road.


____ Second Response from John McLaughlin ___

Hello Isabelle,

In response to your question, the vehicle is available for use by the school as needed.

John M