Dear Editor:

Growing up in the valley, I rode a school bus from kindergarten to Grade 12. Never in those years did I ever encounter the problems Ive had since my own children have been passengers on our SD6 (Rocky Mountain School District No. 6) bus routes.

For the past two years, my children have been yelled at, called names and all the students are made to sit in the front half of the bus like sardines. If that wasnt enough, now they are being threatened with being kicked off their bus if they are not wearing a proper winter coat. In our school districts policy No. 3601, the bus registration form, it states that students wear adequate clothing for the weather conditions while standing at the bus stop. Nowhere does it state the bus driver has the right to not transport a student based on their clothing.

A student was told to get off a Radium bus this past week due to the bus driver stating that the student was not wearing a proper winter coat. The bus then left the student standing on the sidewalk alone. We have many great bus drivers in this valley who are friendly and make a bus ride a positive experience. SD6 policy No. 3600 states: The district will provide safe and efficient transportation in a caring manner.

When a bus driver is allowed to yell, call names and physically touch a student to arrange them into seats, there is a problem. Myself and other parents have tried to get answers, discipline, or some form of change, with no result. When a childs finger is injured because the bus driver starts to pull away as a student is still trying to unload skis and no discipline occurs, our system is failing us. Who can parents go to? The school board only cares about schedules and budget. What about our childrens safety? Why should a bus ride be a negative experience? I encourage all parents who are having similar issues to step forward. A bully is a bully, and shame on the school district transportation board for defending it!

Donna Othen

Radium Hot Springs