Parents feel school board is putting lives at risk after second bus mishap in two weeks
'It's not worth it'
TATAMAGOUCHE - Two school buses have left roads in the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board's (CCRSB) district in as many weeks, leaving some parents gravely concerned about their children's safety.
At about 7:45 a.m. on Tuesday a bus carrying 13 students on the snow-covered, gravelled Miller Road off the Lake Road, near Tatamagouche, got stuck in snow when one wheel slipped into a ditch.
"The roads are terrible," said a grandmother of one the students on the bus, who asked not to be named. "Because there is no snow in Truro we have to be treated the same way the school board treats Truro and it's not right."
None of the students were injured and after about a 45-minute wait another bus arrived to take them to school.
While some parents believe it was not safe to have buses travelling on snowy roads Tuesday morning, Carolyn Pierce, spokeswoman for CCRSB, said a decision to open school was made before 6 a.m. based on a variety of sources of information.
She said determining a cancellation is a team effort combining information collected from a private weather forecaster, along with other weather forecasts, provincial road condition reports and current weather conditions.
"We also have staff all around our school board that get in vehicles and drive around on roads in their areas," said Pierce.
She said the forecast on Tuesday morning called for five centimeters of snow and winds of 30 kilometres, and was compared to forecasts for both Pugwash and Caribou.
"Today the government road reports indicated they were snow-covered passable with caution," said the spokeswoman. "That is not unusual. It is the same as yesterday. The drivers that went out on the roads today raised no concerns with driving conditions."
She also said they consider a variety of geographic areas within the district when determining school
Tatamagouche mother Kelly Tucker feels the board is making poor decisions, forcing parents to choose between their children's safety and education.
Tucker kept her elementary school-aged son home Tuesday based on her own assessment of poor road conditions and warnings from other parents who had travelled barely passable roads on their way to work. However, her daughter in Grade 11 felt she had to go to hand in a French project due that day, not wanting to risk repercussions of not having it in on time.
"We could have lost kids this morning," said Tucker. "It's not worth it to keep school open.
"The school board is putting our children's lives at risk and they obviously don't care about our kids. There is more than the all mighty buck to consider here. Something has to be done."
She feels there are at least four days which the board has risked children's lives this year by opening schools in bad weather.
"Our primary concern is the safety of our students when they are traveling on our busses, we share that with parents and we also have to balance that with delivering education. Our concerns are their concerns," Pierce said.
North Shore CCRSB representative Margie Nicholson said, while she is not a part of the team determining school closures, she welcomes parents to express their concerns to her so she can share them with the