Parents deserve an explanation

Letter to the editor

Posted: Thursday, May 25, 2006

My wife and I witnessed what could only be described as an outrageous and very dangerous situation.

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Two groups of children from two separate schools were going on a short boat ride. One bus showed up at the boat dock less than half full. Almost a half-hour later, another bus showed up completely packed. One class was picked up from Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School, and the rest - three classes - were picked up from Harborview Elementary School. Three classes of students, children and adults were crammed onto one bus, which was very scary for everyone on the bus except the driver. Once they finally arrived at the boat dock, everyone was very much relieved to get off the bus. The reason for bringing everyone out like that wasn't explained until later.

Upon returning from their boat ride, both buses were sitting at the dock waiting. Yet, when everyone was ready to get back on, the drivers would not let the teachers divide the children up for the ride back. Nearly an hour went by, with teachers arguing with the drivers, as they fought to comply with their director back at the bus yard.

When push came to shove, the drivers were trying to tell the teachers that this was school policy and that they would not comply with our wishes. Through the communication from their director, they even tried to tell the teachers that they would be charged additional fees for changing the driving arrangements. In short, the drivers were going to cram all three classes back onto one bus the same way they came out.

I, for one, want to see where it says - in the school charters, city policy or any other documents - that they are allowed to put our children at such a risk. I want someone to step forward and explain to all the parents from all four classes why it is acceptable and see if any of these officials were on these two buses. Where does it say that the safety and well-being is to be compromised to save money or to save on gas? I want everyone from the school administration to the bus yard to stand before all the parents and explain their reasoning for this.

James M. Johnson

Juneau



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