Tak­ing the kids home

St. Peter’s ad­min­is­tra­tors ride with stu­dents to en­sure safety

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY MELISSA JENK­INS

If you ask school ad­min­is­tra­tors around the prov­ince what their job en­tails, it’s likely stu­dent safety would be a top an­swer.

John Drover, the prin­ci­pal of St. Peter’s El­e­men­tary in Up­per Is­land Cove, con­sid­ers it the most im­por­tant part of the pro­fes­sion.

“Stu­dent safety is our num­ber one pri­or­ity,” Drover told The Compass in an email last week.

The owner of a lo­cal bus com­pany be­lieves Drover and his col­league re­cently went above and be­yond what’s re­quired of them on that front.

Late dis­missal

Drover and vice-prin­ci­pal David Os­borne had to make some es­sen­tial safety de­ci­sions over the past few weeks, af­ter stormy weather con­di­tions and power out­ages in­ter­rupted the school day. Those de­ci­sions had a big im­pact on the owner of CB Bus Lines, the com­pany that op­er­ates the school buses for St. Peter’s.

Clarence Gosse, who has driven buses in the Trinity Con- cep­tion re­gion for three decades, was moved by the ex­tra ef­fort put forth by Drover and Os­borne dur­ing a snow­storm two weeks ago.

On Tues­day, Feb. 24, it was es­pe­cially stormy. Drover and Os­borne de­cided to de­lay school clo­sure un­til the weather cleared up.

“De­ci­sions to de­lay buss­ing/school are not taken lightly,” Drover ex­plained, not­ing they con­sider the fore­cast, road and high­way con­di­tions, and the opin­ions of bus driv­ers.

Gosse con­firmed his driv­ers ar­rived at the school late. CB Bus Lines has three buses that ser­vice the school — one for Bryant’s Cove, one for Up­per Is­land Cove and an­other for the Bishop’s Cove shore.

“Up­per Is­land Cove and Bryant’s Cove can get very stormy,” Gosse said. “You of­ten can’t see a hand in front of you.”

Get­ting home safe

Be­cause of the blow­ing snow, the driv­ers told Gosse they could see the road, but would likely not be able to see all chil­dren get home safely. That is where Drover and Os­borne came in.

“David Os­borne and John Drover went on those buses and waited to see if the stu­dents got in­side their doors,” he con­tin­ued. “It’s one of the best things I’ve seen in 34 years.”

“From my point of view, and the bus driv­ers’, this just doesn’t hap­pen.” Clarence Gosse

Gosse con­firmed all the stu­dents got home safely, and cred­its the prin­ci­pal and vice-prin­ci­pal for their com­pas­sion and ded­i­ca­tion in their po­si­tions.

“I’ve dealt with ev­ery school in the Con­cep­tion Bay North area,” he said. “From my point of view, and the bus driv­ers’, this just doesn’t hap­pen.” But Drover dis­agreed. “What David and my­self did, all ed­u­ca­tors and ad­min­is­tra­tors would do,” he said.

Im­pressed with safety

Gosse was also im­pressed with how Drover and Os­borne han­dled a power out­age last week. The power didn’t go out un­til stu­dents started to ar­rive. Stu­dents on the bus were taken back home.

“When the power went Wed­nes­day morn­ing, (Drover and Os­borne) stayed around the school,” Gosse said. “They sent three teach­ers out to go out on the routes again to make sure some par­ent or guardian was there for the stu­dents.”

The ad­min­is­tra­tion also has a sys­tem in place where stu­dents that travel on the bus have as­signed seat­ing. Gosse con­sid­ers as­signed seats use­ful for iden­ti­fy­ing stu­dents in­volved in an in­ci­dent on the bus and for pro­tect­ing those that may not be get­ting along.

“If you have a prob­lem, they do cor­rect it,” he noted.

As a grand­fa­ther of two girls and fa­ther of one daugh­ter, Gosse knows what it means to have chil­dren in school.

“As a grand­par­ent and par­ent, I think it would be one of the best things the eastern school board should im­pose is safety reg­u­la­tions like th­ese two men have demon­strated,” he said.

Although Drover doesn’t be­lieve he did any­thing above or be­yond the call of duty, his ac­tions re­ally res­onated with Gosse.

“That’s how safety minded th­ese gen­tle­men are,” he said. “I was amazed and I still am.”

PHOTO BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER/THE COMPASS

A school bus drops off stu­dents at St. Peter’s El­e­men­tary in Up­per Is­land Cove.

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