Amherstburg parents worried now their children are no longer bused to school
WINDSOR, ONT. -- An Amherstburg mother is terrified now that her six-year-old must walk to school, after taking the bus last year.
As police deal with speeding motorists, the school system is struggling with a shortage of those who keep school kids safe.
"Some cars will stop to let her go, wave her on, but then other cars are speeding down the other way so they can't go,” Katherine Meloche said. “My six-year-old has said ‘I'm scared to cross mommy! I cry because the cars are coming too fast and I just don't want to cross.’"
Meloche says she learned over the summer that bus boundaries and walking zones change for kids between kindergarten and Grade 1.
Now her daughter must contend with busy Simcoe Street at Victoria Street. Something that makes her fear the worst.
“It’s frowned upon to leave a child under the age of 10 home alone but yet we're expecting these kids under the age of 10 to be crossing these streets,” Meloche said. “That's scary!"
A group of worried parents went to Amherstburg council this week looking for change.
“You can’t just kick a bunch of kids off the bus by moving a line on a map,” said councillor Don McArthur. “I think that’s wrong.”
McArthur hopes to deliver.
“These parents are concerned,” he said. “They’re befuddled and they want something changed before somebody gets killed.”
General manager of “BusKids” Gabrielle McMillan says the boundary rules have been in place for more than 20 years and are agreed upon by all local school boards.
"I know it's frustrating for families who are just under it, like 50 metres, that's got to be very frustrating, but we have to stick to that because if we start moving it back it goes back and back, right?" she said.
McMillian says if they were to change now, more buses and drivers would be needed.
“Currently we are looking at a driver shortage,” she said. “We have just enough drivers to cover what we have now and when we have anyone call in sick like we've had the last couple of days we end up not having a driver for that run, and the operators having to loop back with some drivers once they finish their route."
McArthur reached out to provincial officials through Twitter for guidance, knowing a crossing-guard shortage also plagues the situation.
“Education is a provincial responsibility, not a municipal one, but the safety of our children?” he said. “That's everyone's responsibility and we have to work together to solve this problem."