Belleville mom says school bus isn’t safe

Kingston, ON, Canada / CKWS TV
Belleville mom says school bus isn't safe

Belleville –  Melissa Barrett is preparing lunch for her three young boys before they head off for another day of class at Saint Michael Catholic School in Belleville.  But the three youngsters won’t be riding the bus to school…

Melissa Barrette/Mother of 3:
“I drop my kids off a lot now because I don’t trust the bus very often it’s like I don’t trust it at all. It’s dangerous.”

What Barrette is concerned about is overcrowding and feels it’s dangerous for children to be sitting three to a seat. She’s also afraid of what would happen in the case of a collision or even a roll over — like this one in Circleville Ohio, with children not secured with seatbelts.

Melissa Barrette/Mother of 3:
“They’re treating them like how many kids can we fit on this bus and take to school so that we can have as little busses possible.”

But officials with Tri-Board Student Transportation Services, the company that oversees school buses across the region, say Barrette’s concerns are unfounded.
Tri-board points to data from the Transportation Safety Board and the MTO which suggests seat belts on school busses don’t offer the same protection to passengers as they do in vehicles and if installed on school buses could cause head and neck injuries.  As for three to a seat — it’s not something unique to the Quinte Region.

Gord Taylor/ CEO Tri-Board:
“It’s absolutely safe. It’s the practice across Ontario, across North America in fact because students are compartmentalized in between two padded seats in the event of an accident they’re contained in that padded soft environment.”

Morganne Campbell:
“This is what the seating chart looks like for busses driving within the Tri-Board region. Here in the back the older kids sit, grades nine to twelve, now we’re moving into elementary school here in this section which is grades seven and eight and then it’s right about here when we start to look at junior kindergarten all the way up to grade six and this is where the students are sat three to a seat.”

But back at the Barrette’s house, those answers aren’t good enough. The mother of three would still like to see what other safety options could be implemented and has contacted her provincial and federal representatives for help. Morganne Campbell CKWS News Belleville.

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