Thursday, December 2, 2010

Moncton Times: Concerned mother pushes for bus regulations

Times Transcript
NB Education Minister Jody CarrEducation Minister Jody Carr will release information related to investigation by tomorrow


New Brunswick's education minister is reviewing the actions of school district employees in an incident that saw two private buses carrying a group of middle-school students from Sackville pulled off the road because of balding tires.

"That's all being reviewed right now," Jody Carr said yesterday.

Carr will release details by tomorrow of his department's investigation into the incident that saw the two buses carrying 60 middle-school students from Sackville ordered off the road by authorities in Nova Scotia.

In the meantime, school districts have been told not to use Prestige Bus Service of Sackville.

Carr met with Isabelle Hains, the mother of one of seven Bathurst High School students killed in a school van crash almost three years ago. She urged him to carry through with the recommendations that came out of the coroner's inquest into the tragedy.

"It's a concern to our government. We take very seriously the safety of our students," Carr said.

Paul Allen, executive director of the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board, the agency responsible for motor coaches in that province, confirmed yesterday that the drivers of two buses belonging to Prestige Bus Service were ticketed last week under the Nova Scotia's motor vehicle act. The drivers were each charged with "operating a vehicle not equipped as required by law." The offence carries a fine of $222.

One of the drivers told a Halifax newspaper that two worn tires on the tag axles of each bus were identified prior to departure from Sackville and a decision was made to replace them the next day.

Hains wants schools to use only school buses or multi-function mini-buses driven by qualified school bus drivers for educational or extra-curricular activities.

Hains said hearing about the latest incident gave her an anxiety attack.

"I was sickened by it ... I couldn't even believe what I had heard."

Hains had high hopes going into the meeting with Carr. The safety of children shouldn't have a pricetag on it, she said.

"They're worth anything for a parent. We would do anything for our children, but the government is not doing anything for us."