New Brunswick — In an attempt to douse the flames on the anglophone/francophone busing controversy, Education Minister Serge Rousselle has proposed a radical new idea.
“Going forward, all school buses with ridership less than 25% of capacity will be phased out,” said Rousselle. “This applies to both the francophone and anglophone school districts.” When asked how the children will get to school, he responded, “It’s simple really. The government doesn’t want to force anglophones onto a francophone bus or francophones onto an anglophone bus, so we’re simply not going to deal with it.
“Those who have their buses cut will hitchhike to and from school from now on.”
Instruction in hitchhiking will begin in the fall. The curriculum is still being finalized, but will most likely include tips for judging the safety of the ride, weapon concealment, witty conversation suggestions and a sewing class where francophones can sew a little Acadian flag on their backpacks and the anglophones can sew on a little Union Jack.
“The sewing component is important,” explained Rousselle. “We want to increase the possibility that these children will be assured a ride to and from school in the language of their choice.”
Critics of the initiative cited safety concerns for the hitchhiking children.
“I worry like crazy when my 25-year-old daughter hitches down to Halifax!” exclaimed a spokesperson from NOTHUMBS (National Organization To Help Understand My Bus Safely). “I can’t say I blame her with the crappy bus schedule and ridiculous ticket prices, but I still worry! Asking children to step into a stranger’s car is just asking for trouble.”
Some supported the bill wholeheartedly and applauded Rousselle for his innovative solution.
“I drive by that school every day,” commented a retired postal employee who didn’t really seem to have any reason to be at the meeting. “I often take pictures of the cute kids. I can’t wait to give some of them rides.”
“And that is exactly the kind of stuff I’m worried about!” quipped the NOTHUMBS spokesperson.
The minister remained firm. “We have a long tradition of hitchhiking in the Maritimes. This initiative has the added bonus of teaching children about self-reliance and safety.”