Policy too rigid

Andrew Labb

Dear Mr. Editor:
Thanks for letting me put my concerns in writing with regards to the school board transportation policy.
Currently, my two children, aged 10 and six, are not allowed to catch the school bus from my property. Allow me to explain the situation.
The children’s mother and I are separated but we share joint custody. When the children are with their mother, they are allowed to catch the school bus, but when they are with me, they are neither allowed to be picked up nor dropped off at my residence.
This is a result of the board policy which states that the children only can be picked up and dropped off at the primary residence, which is their mother’s residence.
This is problematic because the children are with me for four days and their mother for four days, which is dictated by my work schedule. Unfortunately, I’m required to drive one child to St. Michael’s and my other child to St. Francis, and in the afternoon I’m required to pick them up also.
In October, I met with the transportation committee and explained my situation. I also gave them a copy of my work schedule, which is a regular pattern (four days on, four days off).
Throughout this process, I have gone through the chain of command—teachers, principals, trustees, and administrators—but to no avail. I don’t fit their rigid definition of “schedule,” which is a five-day pattern (e.g., Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday at their mother’s home; Thursday and Friday at their father’s).
This rigidity creates a problem for parents like myself who are separated and work shift work patterns which do not fit the board’s definition. This rigidity also applies to working parents who need babysitters during the day.
I would ask parents, grandparents, family members, neighbours, or co-workers to call local MPP Howard Hampton’s office and leave your name and number, or sign Jackie McCormick’s petition. I also have created a Facebook group—“Parents against bus policy (NWO region)”—to support our protest.
In closing, allow me to make the following observations. One, should the board not be making every effort to serve the children and the parents regardless of work schedule and home structure?
Two, the irony of this situation is that there is a school bus pick-up and drop-off on my property for the fortunate children of parents who fit the board’s definition of pattern!
Andrew Labbe
Fort Frances, Ont.