Isabelle Hains, a mother of one of seven Bathurst High School students killed in a school van crash three years ago, answers questions during a press conference held Wednesday afternoon at the Crowne Plaza in Fredericton. Photo by Shawn Berry
A8 SHAWN BERRY CANADAEAST NEWS SERVICE
FREDERICTON - 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.
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"That's all being reviewed right now," Jody Carr said Wednesday.
"I want to ensure first that the policies and guidelines have been followed under the district and department policies."
Carr will release details by today 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 Wednesday 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.
"What I would love for him to say is that he will implement the coroner's inquest recommendations from the deaths of our sons and say, 'Yes, we will use yellow-school-bus drivers, yes, we will use yellow school buses and yes, we will use multi-function activity vehicles."
The safety of children shouldn't have a price tag on it, Hains said.
"They're worth anything for a parent. We would do anything for our children, but the government is not doing anything for us."