NEWS

Mirabel family's move leaves twin girls with school bus quandary

11/18/2014 06:00 EST | Updated 01/18/2015 05:59 EST
Twin sisters in Mirabel, Que., may be forced to travel an hour and a half to school, even though another school is less than half an hour away.

In October, John Pereira and his family moved to a new house that is less than five kilometres from their old house, but in a different school district, which means they can no longer be picked up by the school bus to their usual school.

Sarah and Samantha, 13, would have to sit on a bus for more than an hour and a half each way to go to Laurentian High School in Lachute, Que., in their new school district.

To this point, Pereira, who is paraplegic, has been driving his daughters to their old school bus stop. ​

But he said his physical disabilities make it difficult for him to drive in the winter, and he asked the Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board to make an exception and pick up his daughters outside the school district.

"I told them, make an exception for me because I'm in a wheelchair .… I have a heck of a hard time getting into the car, my wife doesn't have a driver's licence," Pereira told CBC's Daybreak.

But so far, Pereira said, his requests to the school board have made no progress. 

After multiple conversations over the phone, Pereira said, he was told to write a formal letter of complaint to the director general.

He said that unless Sarah and Samantha are willing to brave the long walk every morning and night to their old bus stop, they'll have to switch secondary schools and deal with the hour and a half bus ride.

"I do not see 13-year-olds walking 4.5 kilometres to go and grab the school bus," Pereira said. 

School board: We don't entertain complaints to the media

School board spokeswoman Maxeen Jolin said that parents are responsible for getting their children to school if they live outside the busing zone.

The board refused to comment further on the case, but emailed the following statement to CBC’s Daybreak:

"We do not want to entertain parent complaints to the media. It's always very delicate and although the parents may find that going to the media will resolve their problem, it really does not."

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