Enfield mom calls Stock busing “absolute chaos”

ENFIELD: An Enfield parent—like many across HRM—has been left frustrated with Stock Transportation after her oldest son arrived home almost two hours after being dismissed from school.

AJ Scott just started Grade 9 at Lockview High School in Fall River. His mom Karen couldn’t get a hold of him, Stock, or the school to find out where her son was when he didn’t arrive home on Sept. 5. He did, at 5:30 p.m.—both days, and then was home on Sept. 7 shortly before 5 p.m.—still about 90 minutes after dismissal.

“As a parent I was frustrated. I didn’t know if he was at the school, on the bus, I tried to get the school and Stock but there was no answer, and I called the Halifax Centre for Regional Education (HRCE) and there was no answer,” said Karen Scott, who noted they are a 12 minute drive from Lockview. “It’s absolutely unacceptable. It’s absolute chaos.”

She said what they seem to need is another bus as some kids are scheduled to be on the bus for 90 minutes. HRCE school board guidelines lists an hour as the max a student should be on a bus.

“It’s so unorganized,” said Karen. “Something needs to be done because there’s no communication. I’m fed up with it already.”

She explained she didn’t think it would be AJ’s busing she would have the issue with—her two other younger boys attend Oldfield School and get there by courtesy bus. If they were to walk, that would mean the two would have to walk on the busy Highway 2.

The lateness of getting home would make having a job impossible for AJ if he was of age to work. He isn’t yet, but if changes aren’t made it could causing trouble down the road, said Karen.

Sock Transportation and the HRCE issued a joint statement on Sept. 7.

In it, the two apologized for the frustration that the bus routing issues caused. Stock said they would have additional staff responding to calls and HRCE also implemented procedures to ensure parents were called back and student information updated.

On Sept. 6, Minister of Education Zach Churchill said the department would undertake an internal review of the province’s school bus system after several complaints from parents.

Stock added in their statement that additional bus route experts would be working the Sept. 7-9 weekend.

AJ said on top of him getting home late, he had to help the bus driver who he says isn’t from the area and is new with the route.

“I told her where my stop was and she still went by it and then turned around when I said she had gone by it,” said AJ.

Karen said there’s a lot of things that need to be done to rectify the situation.

“They need more buses; they need accountability; they need communication,” she said. “It doesn’t seem like this new system is any better for anyone.”