Forum, Dec. 3: A Commitment to Student Safety

Sunday, December 02, 2018
A Commitment to Student Safety

I wanted to take the opportunity to respond publicly to J.D. O’Guin’s Nov. 29 letter, “Demand Safety for School Buses.” After reading the letter, I felt it was necessary to correct the many inaccuracies it included.

First, Student Transportation of America is not currently, nor has it been in the past, contracted to perform student transportation services for the Springfield, Vt., School District. However, we are contracted with the Windsor Southeast Supervisory Union, which includes West Windsor, Windsor, Hartland and Weathersfield schools. We provide 13 daily morning and afternoon bus runs throughout the Supervisory Union.

O’Guin was correct in stating that our buses do not have chains. However, all buses provided to the supervisory union are equipped during the winter months with winter-grade studded snow tires, all currently with an average tread depth of 16/32nds of an inch. For those of you unfamiliar with tread depth, a brand-new tire has approximately 22/32nds of an inch of tread depth when purchased, so 16/32nds means that less than 30 percent of the wear on the tires has occurred.

O’Guin also suggests that we are not providing “good drivers.” I take particular offense to this. Our drivers, not only in the Windsor Southeast Supervisory Union but in all communities serviced by Student Transportation of America, are among the most highly vetted, trained and dedicated employees and deserve so much more appreciation and respect than O’Guin has given them.

O’Guin refers to “common decency.” I would suggest O’Guin exercise some as well and investigate any future concerns first before publicly attacking a respected company and its dedicated employees, who demonstrate daily an unparalleled commitment to student safety.

Brian S. Hemenway

West Lebanon

The writer is the general manager of Student Transportation of America.

In France, a Tick Bite Is No Problem

Jennifer Yocom’s excellent op-ed column about her experiences with health care in England (“What Health Care for All Really Looks Like,” Nov. 29) prompted me to share an experience I had while traveling in France last spring.

Ticks are a problem in France, as I discovered after finding one in my ear during my travels. The bite became infected and I ended up in the emergency room of a rural hospital late one Saturday night. Fortunately, I had a translator with me as my high school French didn’t cover medical terms. The doctor gave me three prescriptions, which she insisted I fill and begin taking immediately.

It seemed incredible, given experiences filling prescriptions in the United States, that a prescription could be filled at 1 a.m., but I was assured that it was possible.

As per standard procedure, the emergency room staff sent me to the local police station, where my identity and the legitimacy of the prescriptions were verified. We then were referred to a pharmacy about 5 miles away. The police called the pharmacist while we were on our way. When we arrived the building was dark, but within 10 minutes the pharmacist arrived, turned on all the lights and cheerfully filled my prescriptions. She told us that in France, by law, one pharmacy within a certain radius has to be on call each night to fill emergency prescription requests.

On top of this incredibly kind treatment, the local — and only — taxi driver, who technically went off duty at 10 p.m. Saturday, saw us through the entire experience and politely delivered us back to our lodgings at 2 a.m. Sunday.

I had purchased trip insurance in advance so the expenses were covered. I did have to pay for the medication, but was reimbursed in full. When I compared the bills to what I would have probably paid in the United States, I was amazed at how affordable my treatment in France had been. I also was given enough medication to cover 15 tick bites, which is not a bad thing since I am referred to by my family as the tick magnet here in Lyme, and also now, apparently, abroad.

Thank you, France! United States: We can do better.

Judith Barker


Mental Health Plan Meeting Tonight

I want to commend the Valley News for its editorial about the new 10-year mental health plan for the state of New Hampshire (“A Plan Isn’t Enough: Fixing N.H. Mental Health System,” Nov. 28).

Not only did you help to make your readers aware of the proposed plan, but you emphasized the primary problem with the state’s mental health system — that the funding is just not there. It’s up to our legislators to allocate the money to make sure this plan will be implemented, so it doesn’t remain as empty words like the last one.

There is a public information session on the proposed plan today, from 5-7 p.m., at the Howard Recreation Center Auditorium, 99 Pleasant St., in Concord. Please come and let our legislators know we want this plan to be funded. The more people present the more impact there will be.

Robin Nuse