E.Y. principal likes PEP talk

The Purple Equals Parent program (PEP) has arrived in East York.

PEP is an extra safety measure and communication tool for bussed schoolchildren. Students, starting in junior kindergarten, are required to put a purple tag on their backpack as an indication to bus drivers that a parent, adult or older sibling will pick the child up at the bus stop after school. This program is in place for both the student and the bus driver to ensure the safety of the child.

Some schools in the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) began implementing the PEP program for children in earlier grades this fall.

During the Nov. 24 public meeting of the TCDSB, the board passed the motion to implement the program for all elementary schools. TCDSB trustee Peter Jakovcic is among its advocates.

“I think this is a very simple but vital alternative solution to a problem,” he said.

Luigi Pennacchio, principal of Canadian Martyrs Catholic School, located at 520 Plains Road in East York, explained that if a caregiver doesn’t pick up their child at the designated time, the bus driver will take the child back to the school and appropriate phone numbers will be called until the child is picked up.

“I know that parents are happy that this extra security feature has been added to the students who take the bus this year,” he said. “I think it’s a great feature. It’s a visual one that’s easy for the bus drivers to see and makes us (the school) feel better as well that this extra feature is in place.”