Unlike most children her age, eight-year-old Sarah Auger loves to read. And on her 20 minute commute home on the school bus, the young girl from St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec would occupy her time by digging herself into a good book. That is until her school bus driver implemented a no-reading rule.
According to reports, Sarah’s school bus driver recently told her she’s no longer allowed to read onboard the bus because of the safety risks it poses to others. He suggested that by reading on the bus, Sarah might accidentally cause injury to herself by poking herself in the eye or tempting other students to stand up to see what she’s reading while the vehicle is in motion.
As soon as he heard the news, Sarah’s father, Daniel Abel, complained to the school board. “I find it stupid and useless,” he told the CBC, adding that he’s proud his daughter likes to read and thinks it should be encouraged. But unfortunately for him, they didn’t take his side.
In a statement issued by the school board on Tuesday, they said that it is “a school-bus driver’s responsibility is to transport students safely.” They said that while reading “obviously” doesn’t pose a serious safety risk, the driver is still permitted to make his own rules on the bus. “Any object, be it a book, a toy or electronic device can be a potential danger when a young child … gets up to go and get it while the bus is in motion,” they added in the driver’s defence. They also noted that according to policy, students must keep all belongings, including books, in their bags for the duration of the commute.
However, in an effort to remain fair, the school board finished off by stating their plans to revisit these rules in hopes to reach a “balance” for all the parties involved. But it seems like until then, poor Sarah can’t read on her way home.