Let’s work with P.E.I.’s school bus drivers, who do their utmost to keep students safe. Pay attention when driving and put phones away.
This past week in one P.E.I. school community, there was an accident when two cars tried to pass a bus with their red lights flashing; further down the road, a near-miss by 12 inches of a student while they were disembarking from a bus.
Unfortunately, these severe occurrences are not unusual. People are continuing to pass school buses while their red lights are flashing across P.E.I. regularly. Slow down when you see flashing amber lights and prepare to stop. When red lights are flashing, motorists must make a complete stop no fewer than six meters (20 feet) from the bus. It is illegal and dangerous to pass a bus when lights are flashing.
As a follow-up to the Sept. 29th school bus safety stakeholder meeting, the federation will meet with the education and lifelong learning minister and Public Schools Branch director to discuss the next steps.
Continue to share the important message of not passing school busses with friends and neighbours; our children’s lives are at risk with this behaviour.
Still on this topic, here’s a clarification on information provided in the November column. Stakeholders, in fact, noted that last year there were 200 reports of school bus passing incidents, Island-wide. In Summerside, alone, there were 38 reports which resulted in 17 convictions.
In October, the federation hosted the semi-annual meeting, in-person, at Gulf Shore Consolidated School. After a brief business meeting, attendees enjoyed an interactive panel discussion on Reconciliation: Art of Storytelling and Listening by Julie Pellissier-Lush, Poet Laureate; Communications, PowerSchool and a COVID update by Norbert Carpenter, Public Schools Branch director; Social Media/Internet Safety: Who are kids talking to online? By Cst.Phil Skeffington, RCMP; and Gender Identity: How to address people with Scott Allen, PEERS Youth Program Coordinator, and Anastasia Preston, PEERS Trans Community Outreach Coordinator. Thanks to these speakers for sharing so openly on these topics and attendees for their excellent engagement.
In November, the federation held Home and School training workshops at Elm Street Elementary and Spring Park Elementary schools. Training enhances home and school effectiveness and parent engagement in public education. Thank you to those who attended and facilitators Vicki Bryanton and Stephen Gould. Any home and school association interested in training should contact the office.
Home and Schools may apply for a Parent Leadership Project grant up to $1000. Topics are to educate school communities in areas that impact families (health and wellness, diversity, cultural awareness) and aid parents in helping children with math homework, literacy, and more. The application is at: https://peihsf.ca/grants. Contact the federation office for information and project ideas.
It’s time to think ahead about celebrating school staff and volunteers. Parents, school staff, and students may nominate individuals for recognition by the P.E.I. Home and School Federation. The 2022 award’s program includes recognizing school staff with the Extra Mile Award, Home and School Volunteers and life members, school bus drivers, and school crossing guards. Go to https://peihsf.ca/awards for award details. The first submission deadline for the Extra Mile Award is Jan. 21.
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Heather Mullen, president of P.E.I. Home and School Federation, lives in Lot 38, Canavoy with her husband and two children, who attend Mount Stewart Consolidated School and Colonel Gray High School. Her column appears in The Guardian during the school year on the first Friday of the month. She welcomes comments from readers and information from the column and can be reached at 902-620-3186.