ST-JEAN-SUR-RICHELIEU, Quebec -- Canadian officials are defending a school bus driver who told an 8-year-old student she could not read books on her daily bus ride.
Hautes-Riviere School Board in Quebec Canada posted a lengthy defense on its Facebook page earlier this week.
The statement, written in French, in part said that the driver’s concern was to ensure the safety of the children on the bus. The statement says any object not contained inside a school bag including “a book, a toy or an electronic device” could injure a student if the bus stopped suddenly.
“Nobody wants an accident due to a lack of vigilance,” the statement said.
The other concern raised by district officials is that other students might standup while the bus is in motion to get a better look at the book which could lead to a dangerous situation if the driver had to make any sudden moves while on the road.
According to CBC News the whole thing started when 8-year-old Sarah Auger was told by the driver she could not read books during her 20-minute bus ride.
Her father told CBC News he is proud his daughter loves to read and wants to encourage her to do it as much as possible.
He wants to see the rule on her school bus change.
"I find it stupid and useless," he said.
Thursday the Quebec bus company that employs the driver weighed in on the controversy.
Nancy Ménard, director of operations at Autobus Richelieu, said students are prohibited not just to take out books on the bus, but other objects too — such as toys and electronic devices.
"We prefer that people don't take things out of their bags," she said Thursday.
"Our only goal is to make sure students are safe."
News of the bus book ban did not sit well with many commenters online and on social media.