York Region parents are up in arms over a new French immersion registration process that could split up siblings and bus them to different schools.

“The whole thing is a complete and utter mess,” says Martha De Simone, whose son, Jeremy, is in Grade 4 French immersion at Adrienne Clarkson Public School.

De Simone had planned to enrol her 18-month-old daughter in the same program, but says there is now no way of knowing if Taylor will get to go to the same school as her big brother.

The school board announced last week a new online “random ranking” that slots children into schools will replace the former first-come-first-served system where parents would line up at the school of their choice to register their child in Grade 1 immersion.

According to the board, the new system is the only “equitable” way to allocate coveted immersion spots.

Board spokesman Ross Virgo says the old system unfairly disadvantaged families new to York and parents who couldn’t stand in line. The Toronto District School Board has an online registration system, but families with children already enrolled in immersion get priority at the same school when they register their younger children.