CAPSC | Giving parents a voice

CAPSC is inviting Calgary stakeholders to walk 1.8 km with us from the McDougall Centre Park to the Calgary Board of Education building. This allows us to experience what school children do as they travel to and from bus stops, twice a day, in all weather conditions. We are asking those who can impact these decisions to see what this means for the safety of Calgary's children, and to show empathy and commitment in addressing key parental concerns.

Tuesday October 6 2015 | 11:00 a.m.
McDougall Centre Park

With a six year old setting the pace, we will walk from the corner of 5th Avenue & 7th St. SW to the Education Centre, Calgary Board of Education, 1221 - 8th Street SW, ending the walk immediately prior to the CBE Board of Trustee meeting where impact on stakeholders is to be discussed. Although parents and children are welcome to join, this event is targeted primarily to decision-makers.

Walking is good for kids, so what’s the problem? 

• In winter months, children as young as six will walk 1.6 km in darkness, ice and snow.  Children are out walking to bus stops as early as 7 a.m. On December 21, the sun doesn’t rise until 8:21 a.m.

• Buses are not always reliable, so a child may wait considerable time in sub-zero temperatures before returning the same distance home.

•  Caregivers and younger siblings will walk this distance four times a day to take children to and from the bus.

• While parents may have been comfortable with having their child walk a shorter distance home alone, for many families the distance to bus stops has more than doubled.  Cost, childcare requirements, and ability to work are all affected.  

• Children as young as nine who attend middle schools may be moved to public transportation, where they may transfer once on city buses or the c-train. Along with the elimination in service, the cost of transit will more than double. At the same time, parents of Grade 5 and 6 students continue to pay a noon supervision fee.

• For more details, see CAPSC's Report to the Minister of Education on this subject.

A note for parents: Calgary parents are enormously concerned about reductions in service, and have already spoken on this issue via our petition and stakeholder form. Many cannot leave work and childcare commitments to join this walk. However, those who feel their concerns about service have not yet been addressed can take part:

• Send a brief e-mail to describing routes they still think are inappropriate. For instance, children may still walk a long distance, cross major roads, be on the bus for a considerable length of time, or have a schedule that conflicts with the one for their siblings.  We will ask a trustee, MLA and member of the media to try some of these routes so they fully understand what parents are experiencing.

Developing good policy requires consultation from many stakeholders, including parents. We ask that stakeholders begin to inform themselves about the current reality of public school transportation in Calgary by taking part in this event.

Let us know that we can expect you - RSVP to Walk a Kilometre in My Shoes.