Sat | Feb 22, 2020

A call for rural school bus system

Published:Thursday | May 16, 2019 | 1:41 AM


The call for safe and adequate transportation for our rural schools is deepening and we can no longer ignore it. For many years, principals and school administrators have lamented the situation which exists for commuting students in remote and isolated areas of Jamaica. The manner in which our students have to travel to get to school is untenable and we should not wait on unfortunate incidents to necessitate proper and planned approach to getting them safely to school and back home.

In the absence of a regulated system of transportation, anything goes. The practice of lapping-up, cramped/overloaded taxis, speeding and recklessness, lewd music and vulgarity and the infiltration of robot taxis are pervading the landscape. The traffic is heavy for want of a school bus system, so the operators capitalise on it to the detriment of the students.

To a large extent, the young people don’t know what is best for them, and in the face of peer pressure, hype, glamour and youthful exuberance, may make bad decisions. But as their guardians, parents and responsible leaders, we must protect them. Only what we do with a long-lasting and futuristic outcome really matters. Some of these very children will be elevated to high leadership positions and will lead this country tomorrow. So, let us do our best for a sustainable future so that they may build on our legacy.

The recent accident involving our students is a warning sign and an indication of our plight in the rural communities of north Clarendon (Frankfield and its adjoining communities). But this even extends to other parishes as the Edwin Allen High School serves the four contiguous parishes of Clarendon, Manchester, Trelawny and St Ann. A rural bus system would be far-reaching and very effective. Though costly, this should not deter a good venture which would benefit our over 2,000 students, most of whom travel from outside of Frankfield.

Everton D. Walters, JP, D Min, MEd, BEd (Hons) Principal Edwin Allen High School