Parents complain of long bus rides for kids
Published Tuesday, December 11, 2012 4:19PM CST
Last Updated Tuesday, December 11, 2012 7:16PM CST
Some parents of students in the North East School Division are angry about the amount of time their kids are spending on the school bus. They say many children spend as much as three hours a day getting to and from school.
Five year old Nate Jensen is in kindergarten. His mom Jamie says he is out the door to catch the bus at 7:45 in the morning and he doesn’t get home until nearly nine hours later.
"They get out of school at 3:15 and he doesn't arrive home until probably 4:30. It's a long day for a 5 year old."
The family lives near Smeaton and the school is about 30 KM away in Choiceland. Other parents in the area say they are frustrated as well.
"Cooper gets up at about 7. That's what we strive for. And he is on the bus anywhere from 20 after to 25 after 7,” says Tracey Neufeld, “And he gets to school...from what he says, they get there at 9 o'clock."
"It's a long time to ask a kindergarten kid to hold their bladder. Sometimes for an hour and a half or more," adds Dave Willness.
Don Rempel, the Director of the North East School Division, says long bus rides are a fact of life in rural Saskatchewan.
"The key is that some students will be on the bus for a long time. If you want to look at the entire picture, you have to look at the entire route and all the pickup times. But for sure, there will always be a few students who start their day quite early or end their day getting back home after an hour and twenty minute bus ride."
That response doesn’t sit well with Jensen and she says she has a couple of ideas of her own.
“You know, maybe they need one or two more stops in Smeaton or they need to add another bus route to pick these kids up and then maybe meet in Smeaton.”
The school division says they take feedback from parents very seriously but a lot of work has gone into planning the bus routes. For her part, Jansen says she plans to keep lobbying so young Nate doesn’t have to spend a third of his school day riding the bus.