Minister Lewis meets with school bus operators

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Minister of Justice, Education, Culture, Youth and Sport the Honorable Lyndon Lewis

 

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — Minister of Justice, Education, Culture, Youth and Sport the Honorable Lyndon Lewis described his meeting with school bus operators on Sunday as very fruitful and one of the final steps towards finalizing a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with the operators.  The SLA is important to professionalize the school bus transport system up to improved and acceptable standards. 

It also means the eventual realization of the school bus management system to streamline and optimize the management of the school transportation services. It encompasses various functions to ensure the safety, efficiency, and reliability of transporting students. The SLA also outlines the obligations of the government to the bus operators, including payment and reporting periods. 

The Minister also had the opportunity to obtain results of an investigation he commissioned into allegations of improper behavior towards students by bus drivers, including a case of sexual harassment which was reported to authorities. The suspected driver has been identified and documents are being prepared for his immediate suspension pending further investigation. Additional comment on this matter will be provided later.

The Minister lamented that a child had to go through such a traumatizing situation and assured that everything will be done within the scope of the law to address it. He also repeated his call to parents to not sweep these kinds of incidents under the rug if their child brings it up. Report all incidents to the relevant authorities.

He stressed to the bus operators to inform the bus operators the importance of drivers showing exemplary conduct when transporting children. He informed the operators that while they might not be drivers, there are and have been several reports of improper conduct by drivers. The Minister stressed that he is taking the matter seriously and expects them to do the same within their ranks.