Students Forced to Walk Half Mile Back from Field Trip!!! News 2 Team Reports Live!

Students abandoned by buses, forced to walk back from field trip

WKRN, Nashville News, Nashville Weather and Sports

Short story short: Nashville, TN, high school students went on a field trip. Afterward, the buses dropped them off at McDonald’s and then had to peel off to go on their normal routes. Hence, the kids had to WALK BACK to the school (with their teachers). Can you imagine???

This is such a classic clip of local reporting. Not only was seeing kids outside as odd as seeing a gaggle of gazelles on Main Street, but the investigative  reporter took it upon himself to re-create this historic hike to make sure it really WAS less than a mile. Ah ha! It was more like four fifths of a mile! Heads will roll!  As he reported: 

A decision was made by teachers and school officials to walk the rest of the way to school. [Let’s hope they don’t lose their jobs!] 

MNPS officials said the half-mile walk is well within the “walk zone,” as stated in the policy guide. [Sounds like they had to defend this daring decision.] 

But by News 2’s calculations, the walk was closer to 8/10 of a mile [Oh my!] and included crossing a busy intersection to Foster Avenue, where the sidewalk is not complete. [It’s like Moses coming to the Red Sea!]  

Sophomore Angela Onan wasn’t thrilled about the walk. “We were walking on the sidewalk, cars were passing us. It was a bit dangerous, but it was okay,” Onan said as her mother picked her up after school Friday. “It was not fun.” [If only she could have been back in class instead of outside on a sunny day!]

I’m just waiting for the follow-up piece when they fire the bus drivers and demand the superintendent resign for endangering the children! – L. 

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92 Responses to Students Forced to Walk Half Mile Back from Field Trip!!! News 2 Team Reports Live!

  1. Will March 16, 2014 at 10:29 am #

    A high school sophomore who is still being picked up from high school by her mother said walking on the sidewalk was dangerous.

    Thank you and good night.

  2. Wendy Constantinoff March 16, 2014 at 10:51 am #

    How old are sophomores?

  3. DND March 16, 2014 at 11:03 am #

    How does someone get to be a high school sophomore in a decently sized city without seeming to understand the concept and use of a sidewalk? I understand that in rural (and even many suburban) areas sidewalks aren’t common, but I’ve been to Nashville. They have sidewalks.

    I can understand being a little annoyed if the weather was particularly bad, but this has been a fairly nice week even for those of us in the middle of the polar vortex zone. The walk shouldn’t have been hard for any of the students without physical disabilities, at least not if high school PE is anything like I remember it. If anything I’d be more concerned about bothering other pedestrians who just wanted to get lunch. Shoving your way through a pack of high school students is not easy.

  4. Donna March 16, 2014 at 11:05 am #

    Wendy – A sophomore would be 15-16.

  5. Nidia March 16, 2014 at 11:21 am #

    I am disturbed by the fact that they were dropped off at McDonalds. Don’t they, their parents, and school administrators know that McDonalds is not food, but only food like products?? That they are not being nourish by that “food” and instead are being poisoned and damaging their health?
    They children should have MORE walking field trips and NEVER visit fast food places.
    This news station needs more real news to report on … why don’t they report real news??

  6. Sara March 16, 2014 at 11:25 am #

    “We were walking on the sidewalk, cars were passing us. It was a bit dangerous, but it was okay”

    I weep for humanity.

  7. Maggie March 16, 2014 at 11:38 am #

    My son is a sophomore, and runs track and x-country, he specializes in the 1 & 2 mile runs. They even train on roads with no sidewalks. The horror! NOT.

    He also rides his bike 1 mile to school every day. Most of his buddies walk to school.

    Anyone who thinks this is outrageous needs to get a life.

  8. Lynda March 16, 2014 at 11:43 am #

    While the one student interviewed will obviously be traumatized for life, most of the others seemed to be enjoying the walk.

  9. Laura March 16, 2014 at 11:55 am #

    Our elementary school is 0.6 miles (1 km) from the public library. Beginning in 1st grade (age 6/7) they walk there and back at least once a month. Then starting in 3rd grade they go about once a week. Sometimes they even walk in the rain. The children love it!

  10. Pjack March 16, 2014 at 12:08 pm #

    I showed this to my husband and he thought it was a segment from the Daily Show!

  11. Julie March 16, 2014 at 12:13 pm #

    And to think I encourage my kids to visit Grandma a whole two miles of country roads away!

  12. J.T. Wenting March 16, 2014 at 12:22 pm #

    sheesh. That age, the sports facilities for my school were more than that separated from the main buildings and we had to walk or cycle without escort to and from them several times a week.
    Nobody complained, but then nobody thought anything of it as all of us had to walk or cycle 5-10 miles one way to get to school, which nobody complained about unless the weather was bad and we arrived soaking wet and cold, and then it was just complaints about the weather and how they didn’t make book bags as waterproof as they used to.

  13. Donna March 16, 2014 at 12:26 pm #

    “We were walking on the sidewalk, cars were passing us. It was a bit dangerous, but it was okay,” Onan said as her mother picked her up after school Friday. “It was not fun.”

    Walking on a sidewalk is dangerous?

    And yet my daughter, half her age, managed to bike from San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge and down into Sausalito, a chunk of it not on sidewalks, and thought it was great fun, although a little scary in parts (mostly because of fear of hitting other bikers and walkers).

  14. lollipoplover March 16, 2014 at 12:28 pm #

    My 7 year-old does 1.5 miles each way to school.
    Her definition of *dangerous* is black ice or a tree down blocking her path (which she knows to go around).

    I have more of an issue (not much though) with taking the kids to McDonalds than I do with making them work off some of those calories by hoofing it back to school on a sunny day. It’s a sad day when driving kids door to door becomes the norm and walking instead of driving is newsworthy.

  15. Ravana March 16, 2014 at 12:46 pm #

    Oh those poor little hot house roses! They had to be on their feet in warm temperatures with a slight breeze for 15 whole minutes! Did you see the horror of some of them being forced to eat their french fries along the way? Why, some of them may have even finished their super-sized sodas and milkshakes before getting back to school! I’m surprised they weren’t dropping dead en masse along the side of the road.

  16. Scott Lazarowitz March 16, 2014 at 12:47 pm #

    OMG. I think I will throw up now. The kids don’t like a good 15 minute walk in nice weather? They’d rather sit on their fat butts watching TV and texting like the sheeple zombies that the youngins seem to be these days. I’m glad I’m not in high school at this time, thank God.

    Would they rather be subjected to “school lockdown” drills, in which bureaucrats traumatize them for life, and for no good reason?

  17. Ann in L.A. March 16, 2014 at 12:50 pm #

    Our k-8 school used to let the older kids walk to a nearby park for gym class. Unfortunately, it really was a case of the worst possible thing actually happening. A car drove straight into the kids, killing a teacher and seriously injuring several of the kids–one finished the year in a wheel chair. Since then, the school has insisted on using a bus for every trip, no matter how short.

    I understand the school’s skittishness; however, the rarity of such an event is still important. I think the kids should still walk to the park, especially since the street the accident happened on has been redesigned and there is now a separate walking path that will take kids to the park without being next to traffic. (The kids still use the park for after-school sports, but they take the bus.)

  18. Warren March 16, 2014 at 12:58 pm #

    1. This news station needs it’s license pulled for irresponsible reporting. Making a danger out of nothing dangerous.
    2. If my kid whined about it, they would be walking a mile a day until they stopped whining.

    Now to the people expressing concern about McDonalds…..GIVE YOUR HEAD A SHAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! MCDONALDS IS NOT THE DEVIL!

  19. Melanie March 16, 2014 at 1:09 pm #

    Hmmm… Makes me appreciate the school district that I worked for a few years ago even more. The local IGA was having a promotion of the County’s Longest Angel Food Cake. (Yeah, it was that kind of small town). Our school playground was across the street from the back entrance to the IGA parking lot. So I asked for permission to take my class (sans permission slips) on an impromptu field trip to check out the cake and talk to the baker about how and why they made it. My principal was all for it so with 1 extra adult, my class of 25 and me went on a walking field trip. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but now realize that there are many things about that scenario that someone could easily (though not necessarily logically) object to. Thankfully I worked in a district that had a decent handle on what was really good for kids.

  20. Melanie March 16, 2014 at 1:14 pm #

    Oh! And mine was a 5th grade class. 10 and 11 year olds…

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  22. Marcie March 16, 2014 at 1:26 pm #

    My kids have a walkathon at school each year in May. The younger kids (kindergarten to 2nd Grade) do 7 KM (4 1/3 miles) and the older kids (3rd Grade to 9th) do 15 KM (9 1/3 miles). They do it in the morning ending before lunch. The long one is hard but they manage. The junior high kids can also bike (it is farther but I don’t know how far, my kids aren’t there yet). They go down city streets, into a large park around and back down the main city streets, figuring out sidewalks and 2 busy road crossings. They take off in groups of 3-5 with one parent per group. I have even done it pregnant twice and with a baby strapped to me once. I did bail out one time when my 2 year old and infant screamed the whole first few blocks in the stroller.

  23. SKL March 16, 2014 at 1:27 pm #

    Hmm, when I was in early elementary school we used to go on walking field trips as a regular thing. (And most kids walked to & from school too.)

    And the distance these high school students walked back to the school is about how far I walked to & from school, each way, every day in high school. And then I delivered my three walking paper routes, and then I used to go for walks in the evening/night to chill out. And I wasn’t even an athlete.

    When I was 16 in my first semester of college, I took a backpacking course, where the longest hike I took was 15 miles (spread over 2 days, but with a 40-lb backpack on my back).

    When I was 18 I walked 12 miles to work one morning. I was having a tiff with my mom and she refused to let me use her car. The walk took me 3 hours and then I worked about 15 (on my feet).

    My kids were walking 1 hilly mile each way to & from the park at age 1.5.

    The news dude needs his head examined. And some kids need a taste of real life.

  24. Nanci March 16, 2014 at 3:07 pm #

    My daughters middle school is across the street and slightly down the road from a bowling alley. I was shocked and very pleasantly surprised when she came home from school one day telling me that her P.E. class walked to the bowling alley to bowl. They actually did a bowling unit and spent about two weeks walking to the bowling alley. I was sure stuff like that wasn’t allowed anymore, but was glad to see her school doing it :)

  25. sarah March 16, 2014 at 3:16 pm #

    I read the articles on this site ofeten and because I live in Tennessee I thought I would finally show this site to some of my coworkers. To my surprise they are all upset that the students had to walk back to school. Personally I think they should walk more often. I actually had a co worker tell me it was ” far to dangerous for those students to walk to school like that. I’d never want my child to have to make that trip.” Oh good grief. I’m embarrased to work with these people. I should expect this reaction though. My own mother yells at me for letting my 6 yr old play on our lawn unsupervised. (we live WAY in the country by no roads).

  26. SKL March 16, 2014 at 3:50 pm #

    Exactly what dangers are they worried about?

    They do realize that these kids are probably old enough to work at that McDonald’s after school, right?

  27. SOA March 16, 2014 at 3:51 pm #

    Lord as long as all the kids were physically able (meaning no disabled students with physical issues) to walk that distance then I fail to see the problem. I am sure the teachers made sure they did so safely and kids that old should know how to walk safely by then anyway. My friend used to walk way further than that home sometimes if she missed the bus and it was up a ridge with no sidewalks or really any place to walk besides the road.

  28. SOA March 16, 2014 at 3:54 pm #

    Around here I often see the high school students out jogging on the streets near the school. I think the track team or some sports team make them do it as part of practice after school. The teenage boys even jog with their shirts off! Gasp!

  29. SKL March 16, 2014 at 3:58 pm #

    I’m reading the Ramona books (by Beverly Cleary) with my kids right now. The first couple of books were written back in the 1950s, and the series was continued in the 1970s, but still set in the 1950s. Ramona walked a couple of blocks to school, including crossing a couple of streets (one guarded, one not). In the beginning of KG, her mom walked her, but soon she was allowed to walk with just her KG classmate, and if he didn’t show up at her house on time, she walked alone. Age 5. That was normal. Now how did we go from there to high school kids not being considered safe walking to school *in a group,* *with adult chaperons*?

  30. Steve March 16, 2014 at 4:01 pm #

    Oh my! The reporter said it was a 15 minutes walk! How could high school kids endure such a hardship? (Ha!)

    Everybody having anything to do with this incident making The News should be deported to make room for people with gumption who actually want to become productive members of society. The problem here is that so-called “adults” allowed this to become a news report of any kind.

  31. SKL March 16, 2014 at 4:03 pm #

    Also, I would like to ask those students how they think kids used to get to school before there were cars and buses.

  32. Steve March 16, 2014 at 4:10 pm #

    SOA said:
    “… as long as all the kids were physically able (meaning no disabled students with physical issues) to walk that distance then I fail to see the problem.” –

    Disabled students???

    Kyle Maynard probably wouldn’t see this walk as a problem:

  33. Just Me March 16, 2014 at 4:32 pm #

    “We were walking on the sidewalk, cars were passing us. It was a bit dangerous, but it was okay,” Onan said as her mother picked her up after school Friday. “It was not fun.”

    That remark certainly has the ‘Wow!’ factor!

  34. hineata March 16, 2014 at 4:33 pm #

    Are you sure, Lenore, that this isn’t a joke? If it isn’t, then I imagine the folks in Nashville must be pretty embarrassed right now.

    Myself, I was impressed that all those young adults actually took themselves back to school. They looked old enough simply to have skived off home for the rest of the day.

    Also impressed with the size of some of those sidewalks :-). Ours are thinner than that and it’s a no brainier that I still expect my students to walk lots of places, poor babies :-)

  35. SKL March 16, 2014 at 4:43 pm #

    The other thing I don’t get is, why this fault finding mentality? It seems to me there were only a few choices available:

    1) Pull the kids out of the concert before it was over (or just not go to it in the first place);

    2) Bus the kids back to school and don’t let them have lunch;

    3) Prevent the buses from delivering a lot of other (possibly younger) kids to their homes;

    4) Make each student find his own way home from McD or wait at the McDs until the buses were done with their regular bus routes.

    Or wait, maybe they thought the students should have been entitled to a catered meal back at the school since there wasn’t time to stop at McD?

    What is their suggested solution, other than whining and crying?

  36. J.T. Wenting March 16, 2014 at 4:45 pm #

    “Disabled students???

    Kyle Maynard probably wouldn’t see this walk as a problem:”

    Or my tourguide in Indonesia 2 years ago. Guy had polio, no use at all of one of his legs.
    Using only a wooden pole he hiked up and down steep mountain treks, faster than all but the best trained of us (and that was a navy combat diver…).

  37. Abby March 16, 2014 at 4:47 pm #

    Just this morning I was talking to my dad, who said when he was in high school, if you couldn’t run a seven minute mile, they put you in a remedial phys ed class where they kicked your butt into shape. I was just wondering, if they tried to impose such standards on today’s high school kids, how many students would come in with doctors notes or whose parents would complain about p.e. giving their kids anxiety? I saw this article and said to my husband, “and we wonder why so many children are obese?”

  38. Michelle March 16, 2014 at 5:05 pm #

    Absolutely, most kids should be able to walk that distance on a sidewalk in a group. My preschoolers could have done it.

    What bugs me about this story is the lack of planning. School officials making last minute decisions about how to get kids home from a field trip? Stopping at McDonalds for a “late lunch?”

    I assume that the school made alternate plans for students with disabilities that would prevent them from walking that distance. And I sincerely hope that they also considered any students who had injuries that might have made them temporarily unable to walk that far. Students who weren’t expecting a hike and not wearing suitable shoes? I guess it won’t kill them, but I still don’t think it was appropriate.

  39. ifsogirl March 16, 2014 at 5:07 pm #

    I started working at McDonalds on my 15th birthday, was hired at 14 but legally couldn’t start till 15. I was in grade 9 and sometimes would have to walk two miles from school to work a five hour shift. On weekends, if my parents were busy, I walked further than that. Sometimes when it was good weather I chose to walk.

    I have to confess though, I was one of those kids with the Dr’s note. I have short tendons and as my parents figured that putting me through a series of painful procedures over puberty so I could run more than a mile wasn’t worth it. I did intermittently jog/walk the track while others ran. I got a slightly easier ride as this was the only activity I was exempt fro., not a free ride.

  40. Wendy W March 16, 2014 at 5:18 pm #

    I looked up the location on Googlemaps. They had two roads to walk along. The first is a 5 lane with wide sidewalks on both sides. (In JR High I regularly crossed a 6 lane highway with no crosswalks.) The second was 2 lanes with no sidewalks, but with bike lanes on both sides, except where it crosses under the RR and the road narrows. That’s the place the video shows- the “most dangerous” stretch of the route. Irresponsible reporting, indeed!

  41. FiSyd March 16, 2014 at 5:19 pm #

    Our school (all girls) did a 2 day hike at 15/16. My husband’s school did 4 day unsupervised hikes. My brother in law’s school did 24hr solo hikes. As fas as I’m aware all these are still happening.

    Last year my son’s kindergarten class did a walking your of Sydney’s Sculptures by the Sea – it was maybe 5km in total. They were fine.

  42. FiSyd March 16, 2014 at 5:23 pm #

    Our school (all girls) did a 2 day hike at 15/16. My husband’s school did 4 day unsupervised hikes. My brother in law’s school did 24hr solo hikes. As fas as I’m aware all these are still happening.

    Last year my son’s kindergarten class did a walking your of Sydney’s Sculptures by the Sea – it was maybe 5km in total. They were fine!

  43. SKL March 16, 2014 at 5:41 pm #

    Michelle, my understanding is that the concert ran past the scheduled time. It doesn’t sound like that was within the control of the school. It really sounds like they weighed all their options and chose the least worst.

    When I was a kid in high school, I would have been thrilled for the opportunity to walk back instead of being driven and sitting indoors until dismissal. Could they not find one student who was glad for the walk, or did they simply choose to only show the whiners?

  44. SOA March 16, 2014 at 6:10 pm #

    Um yeah let’s be realistic Steve, a child on crutches or with a severe limp or juvenile arthritis or fatigue, cerebal palsy, etc may not be able to pull off that kind of a walk. Just in the people I know I know a couple people that could not do that like my friend with Lyme disease that on her bad days can barely move.

    So yes, I do not think it is wrong to bring up that as long as all the kids were healthy and had no health reason why they could not walk it, then I don’t have a problem with it. But if they say made a child on crutches walk that far or a child with cerebral palsy who has a bad limp and tires easily-it would be a different story.

    We have handicapped placards and handicapped parking spots in this country for a reason.

  45. BL March 16, 2014 at 6:13 pm #

    “Now to the people expressing concern about McDonalds…..GIVE YOUR HEAD A SHAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ”

    Is that a milkshake or some other sort of shake?

    (The last time I even tried to go to McDonald’s was when Tropical Storm Sandy knocked out power so I couldn’t make breakfast at home – it turned out McDonald’s was on the same power grid so I ended up with a Burger King breakfast.)

  46. SOA March 16, 2014 at 6:14 pm #

    I agree with Michelle that it is bad planning. If the kids were going to have to walk it would be nice to let them know ahead of time to make sure they have walking shoes on or a coat if its cold, etc. I am not a happy girl when I find out I have to walk far when I am wearing heels. But otherwise I love to walk and do so for pleasure and exercise all the time.

    Just because SOME disabled people can walk up a mountain does not mean all of them can and it is insulting to act like they can. My StepDad can barely walk into a store without completely losing his breath and starting to pant and hobbling the entire time. But, sure, he can hike up a mountain just because this one person who is also disabled can. There are different levels of disabilities duh!

  47. Papilio March 16, 2014 at 6:36 pm #

    David Hembrow ‏@DavidHembrow 4 u
    @FreeRangeKids Please tell all involved that it’s not unusual for Dutch kids to bike 12 miles to school

    WOW – direct contact between the only two bloggers in the world I follow!!! 😀

    In primary school class 1-6 we would walk about half a mile or so to the gym facility for PE, I think 2x a week? From 4th? grade we could be scheduled at the end of the day or directly before or after lunch break, and then we were expected to find our own way there or home. Sixth grade ended with a camping trip for which we cycled a distance of just over a marathon, one way. So I don’t see the problem with letting 15-16yos walk less than a mile as a solution for an unexpected problem.

    “We were walking on the sidewalk, cars were passing us.”
    Yeah, that is kind of the idea of having sidewalks. That the cars PASS you instead of running you over…

    P.S. In my province is a large polder, the Schermer, and in the Schermer there’s a cute little village in the middle of nowhere (well, fields with cows) called Schermerhorn…

  48. Renee Anne March 16, 2014 at 6:57 pm #

    Um, when I was headed into 5th grade (c. 1990), a new school opened and unless the kids lived outside of the city limits, they were required to walk or ride their bikes to school. I lived a mile away from the school. I had friends that lived almost two miles away. We did this every single day.

    But, that was in 1990. Now, unless the kids live within a 6-8 block distance from said school, they ride the bus. ::sigh::

  49. Gill robertson March 16, 2014 at 7:05 pm #

    I have a home daycare the children walk to and from school unless it is colder than minus 25 c everyday from about twenty months on it’s the same distance all that happens is I have fit kids that love being outside

  50. Diane Schwartz March 16, 2014 at 9:01 pm #

    Oh the way kids whine about walking. It’s so funny that this was even news. These are high school kids not little kids. The horror of it all.

  51. eileen March 16, 2014 at 9:29 pm #

    I think the reality of the suburbs is that most kids are spoiled and used to being driven around by parents or school buses. To be fair, the suburbs encourage this lifestyle by not having adequate sidewalks and being so spread out- shopping malls, schools that are miles away from where most residents live.
    Environmentally, this is not sustainable. Hopefully, city planners, architects, etc. will think about our heavy reliance on cars and plan differently for the future.

  52. bmj2k March 16, 2014 at 9:39 pm #

    Walking on the sidewalk was “a bit dangerous,” said a high school student whose mother picked her up after school.

    That’s the problem in a nutshell.

  53. Puzzled March 16, 2014 at 10:01 pm #

    On the poor planning comments: Give me a break. Not everything needs to be planned out precisely. This is life, not a play.

    Regarding the whole story: I disagree with all the kid-blaming going on here. They are the victims of stupid, power-hungry adults. It’s not their fault, this was done to them.

  54. Warren March 16, 2014 at 10:19 pm #

    Enough with the special needs kids. There was no mention of special needs kids, so why on earth even bring it up.

  55. Alex March 16, 2014 at 10:25 pm #


    I remember walking a group of 14 Grade Six students back to school after our van broke down. We easily covered 5km (that’s more than two and a half miles for you US folk) along a stretch of the trans-Canada highway in Calgary.

    We had gone out for burgers and shakes (a class celebration at the end of the school year). When our van didn’t start, I reasoned that the school was within walking distance, and off we set. Kids were all in dress shoes, as they wore uniforms!

    No parents complained. There were some raised eyebrows, and my administrator was a little ticked (but as I was the director of the Outdoor Education program and fully certified with first aid and years of backcountry experience, she couldn’t really fault me).

    Nobody died. We were tired and thirsty, for sure. And we have a great memory to last us a lifetime. The year? 2002.

  56. SOA March 16, 2014 at 10:46 pm #

    I agree about suburb kids being spoiled about walking. We are the only kids that walk to school in the morning plus one other boy. Our next door neighbors who live just as close are driven and dropped off right by the door. When the 5th grade boy expressed shock that we walk every day, I told him look at these little kindergartners being tougher than you are. This is a kid that plays sports all weekend long and they think will be the next Peyton Manning but oh God Forbid he walk a block.

    Then he tried to say its because he has asthma which I replied, really my kids have asthma too. Then he had nothing to say to that. SMH.

  57. SOA March 16, 2014 at 10:50 pm #

    6-8 blocks they get bused. Yeah right around here all kids are bused even the ones that live in our neighborhood that literally would take longer to ride the bus home than to just walk home. I am talking less than a block really. Bus still runs them home. Honestly I find the bus less safe than walking as you have to wait for it in a precarious spot right on the road. But letting them actually take a 5 minute walk is just too much to ask.

    We walk in snow, wind, rain, thunder, heat and cold. We have coats, winter boots, rain boots, umbrellas, rain coats, so we just strap on the appropriate weather gear and head out. Sometimes we cheat a bit and drive up to the street right behind the school and park but then we still walk from there. The other kids get dropped off right at the doors and picked up right from the doors.

  58. Reziac March 16, 2014 at 10:56 pm #

    As a 14YO sophomore (I skipped first grade so I was a year younger than most kids) I’d been walking a mile or so to school, on my own, for 9 years already. With or without sidewalks and occasional busy streets to cross. I first crossed a four-lane street (the main drag on our end of town) on my own when I was FIVE. Cross with the light. Look both ways and watch the side streets. It’s common sense and basic observation skills (which any child should learn if they ever wish to cope with being an adult), not rocket surgery.

    The ‘always keep them safe’ culture is producing kids with retarded development. :(

  59. Jenny Islander March 16, 2014 at 11:07 pm #


    Sophomores at our local school walk a third of a mile each way just to eat their lunch at the local McD’s. Closer to half a mile each way if they choose to go to Subway instead. In all weathers, and (gasp) without adult supervision. And they are expected to be in their first after-lunch class on time and prepared, because open campus means you’re mature enough to use the privilege responsibly.

    One time somebody underdressed for the weather and came back with frostnip on his cheeks and ear-tips. What was the consequence to the school district? Zero. Zip. Nada. Because learning how to deal with the consequences of your own actions is part of being a teenager!

  60. fred schueler March 16, 2014 at 11:25 pm #

    Report from Bishops Mills, Ontario: 22 month-old grandson walks half mile (700m) to the bridge and back with grandfather, carefully taking grandfather’s finger and watching each car as it goes by. This child also being trained by free-range mother how to us a paring knife to cut his Carrots and Potatoes at supper. Does this mean he’s 14 years precocious compared to suburban highschool students?

  61. gap.runner March 17, 2014 at 2:39 am #

    When I first saw this, I thought it was from the Onion. I never realized that walking on a sidewalk in the States was so dangerous. Walking on a sidewalk in Europe can sometimes be dangerous if you are in a marked bike lane because you could get hit by a cyclist (and it would be your fault for walking in the bike lane). But as far as I know, there are no bike lanes on sidewalks in the States.

    When my son was in German kindergarten (preschool), he and his class would go on longer walks than 0.5 miles. Every year kids in German schools have a class “Wandertag” (hiking day) during the first and last week of the school year. Even the first graders go on fairly long hikes with their classes. Because I live in a valley in the Geman Alps, these hikes often involve going up a mountain trail. Those wimpy high school students would never make it in a German school.

    A while back I watched a segment on a German TV show about how kids in other countries go to school. It showed first graders in China walking over an hour each way by themselves on a narrow mountain trail, elementary school kids in Africa walking without an adult and then going on a boat on a crocodile-infested river (an adult drove the boat), and Siberian kids walking to school when it was -30 C outside. The Siberian kids were accompanied by an adult man (!), who happened to be one of the teachers at the school.

  62. JosieY March 17, 2014 at 3:51 am #

    Just as a comparison, although we live too far away from my daughter’s school to walk, I drop her off and pick her up at a location about 10 minutes walk away from school every day. She is 7.

    And abut the ‘disabled’ kids? What disabled kids? I’m fairly sure that if there was a kid with a disability that hampered their ability to walk to school it would have been front and centre in the news,don’t you think?

  63. gap.runner March 17, 2014 at 7:43 am #

    I wonder how embarrassed those kids would be after I told them that I will be 55 next month and run half-marathons and marathons. I certainly would be embarrassed at 15-16 complaining about walking less than a mile after meeting a “senior citizen” who thinks of a 5 km (3.1 mile) run as a warm-up.

  64. Ashley March 17, 2014 at 8:16 am #

    Um. Your kidding me right? Half a mile is not a news story. It’s an afternoon stroll! It’s really not that big of a deal.

  65. Ann March 17, 2014 at 9:42 am #

    Our elementary school walks the kids a half mile and back to a tennis center sometimes for PE. Nobody bats an eye at that, but maybe it is because it is part of PE? We certainly wouldn’t want kids walking or getting any sort of exercise outside of PE, right?

  66. Sara R. March 17, 2014 at 9:57 am #

    Oh what has happened to investigative journalism? Was there really nothing else important to talk about?! I know that I would have loved to be in walking vs. in class when I was in school.

  67. Tsu Dho Nimh March 17, 2014 at 10:33 am #

    “We were walking on the sidewalk, cars were passing us. It was a bit dangerous, ”

    Good grief!

    When walking in a SIDEWALK is perceived as “a bit dangerous”, it’s time to ban school buses and move drop-off zones to at least a mile away fron school unless there is a medical exemption (like a broken leg or other condition).

  68. BL March 17, 2014 at 10:47 am #

    What? Nobody is claiming to have walked 12 miles to school each day? In the snow? Uphill? Through a hail of bullets?

    Old fogeys ain’t what they used to be.

  69. Papilio March 17, 2014 at 1:33 pm #

    @gap.runner: “Walking on a sidewalk in Europe can sometimes be dangerous if you are in a marked bike lane because you could get hit by a cyclist (and it would be your fault for walking in the bike lane). But as far as I know, there are no bike lanes on sidewalks in the States.”

    Yeah, I saw pictures from Germany and Britain where they’d painted some lines on the sidewalk, splitting it in two insufficient spaces where people on foot and on bikes could squeeze themselves through… It looked very inconvenient and possibly dangerous.

  70. Amanda Matthews March 17, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

    “students who had injuries that might have made them temporarily unable to walk that far. Students who weren’t expecting a hike and not wearing suitable shoes?”

    Haha, what? It was a 15 minute walk. After a field trip.

    If they weren’t prepared because no other part of the field trip involved a 15 minute walk then that is a serious problem. Heck, if no other part of their AVERAGE day involves a 15 minute walk then THAT is a serious problem. But from what I remember of field trips, there was LOTS of walking. Are field trips generally just being bussed to sit somewhere else for the day, nowadays?

    Anyone that could not get through this 15 minute trip most likely would not have been able to get through the field trip without alternate accommodations (say, a wheelchair) – which they most likely would still have with them, to use for the 15 minute walk.

  71. Amanda Matthews March 17, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

    “students who had injuries that might have made them temporarily unable to walk that far. Students who weren’t expecting a hike and not wearing suitable shoes?”

    Haha, what? It was a 15 minute walk. After a field trip.

    If they weren’t prepared because no other part of the field trip involved a 15 minute walk then that is a serious problem. Heck, if no other part of their AVERAGE day involves a 15 minute walk then THAT is a serious problem. But from what I remember of field trips, there was LOTS of walking. Are field trips generally just being bussed to sit somewhere else for the day, nowadays?

    Anyone that could not get through this 15 minute trip most likely would not have been able to get through the field trip without alternate accommodations (say, a wheelchair) – which they most likely would still have with them, to use for the 15 minute walk.

  72. anonymous this time March 17, 2014 at 2:47 pm #

    I have been thrilled with the fact that in the schools here, kids regularly go on field trips where they walk 1 or 2 miles to their destination and back again, with a ratio of about 6 kids to one adult.

    We’re talking early grade school here. Never mind the sophomores. I’m guessing they’d be expected to be responsible for their own transportation and simply gather at the destination at the appointed time.

    WTH is this story news? Glad all over again that I left the US.

  73. Orange you glad March 17, 2014 at 3:03 pm #

    Clearly a drama student was interviewed.

  74. Havva March 17, 2014 at 3:24 pm #

    Okay, a) How is this not a comedy?
    b) Out of 100 kids they interviewed 1, and it looks like they got most of the rest of them to re-enact at least part of the walk. So 99% of the group loved it enough to do again, and 1 moaned about it on camera.

    That sidewalk looked really safe to me, that row of utility poles between the cars and the sidewalk looks sufficient to total any car that deviated from the path. Okay the part under the railroad bridge look less than ideal…but I’ve certainly done worse.

    As to distance…please! As a newly walking toddler my daughter’s first walk in the neighborhood lasted a mile. The recovering helicopter parents across the street from me let their elementary age boys walk a half mile to school, on their own, for a mile round trip each day. And I’m sure the boys go 8/10ths of a mile one way on many days as the older one and his friends love running circles around the house after school.

    My 4th grade teacher and my mom took the whole 4th grade class on what I estimate to be about a 2 mile walk, some on (gasp) sidewalks (no utility pole protection), and some through a wilderness area (known for rattlesnakes), for a field trip. After being on our feet most of the day at the historic site, they hiked the group of us back 2 more miles. Now I know I whined about it a bit. But then again I was only 5 years old and the big kids were walking too fast! When I did the trip again when I was finally in 4th grade with that teacher, it was fine. Now my sister was a consummate whiner, and by the time she got home the only thing she was complaining about was having to write a report about the historic site.

    Looks like WKRN can make a “story” out of anything.

  75. Allyson March 17, 2014 at 4:13 pm #

    My son is in 6th grade in Oakland. A few weeks ago, the entire 6th grade class (over 100 kids) walked back from their field trip, a distance of 4 miles! Not only that, most of the walk was through sketchy neighborhoods in west Oakland. Some parents objected, but not me! And no, 100 kids walking through west Oakland did not make the news.

  76. Rick March 17, 2014 at 5:25 pm #

    I can only be reminded of walking to another school at least 2 miles away with 2 or 3 other classes to watch a french movie in 7th grade. The movie turned out to be R rated with four letter words (english subtitles) and nudity. We then walked back to the junior high school. No one ever complaining. Of course!

  77. Donna March 17, 2014 at 6:14 pm #

    Amanda Matthews – I believe the field trip was to a concert so not something that I would expect to involve much walking. While I remember many field trips involving copious amounts of walking, I also had field trips to the circus, the Nutcracker and concerts which did not.

    Now whether people should be wearing shoes that they can’t walk a half a mile in at all and whether such shoes are appropriate for school are completely different questions.

  78. Emily March 17, 2014 at 11:00 pm #

    “Making a danger out of nothing is dangerous.”

    Wise words, Warren. Remember the episode of South Park where Sexual Harassment Panda became Don’t Sue People Panda? Not the exact same storyline, but it follows the same theme of making mountains out of molehills.

  79. Stephanie March 18, 2014 at 12:57 am #

    Wonder what they’d think of my kids’ school. They do walking field trips sometimes of about 2 miles each way… in elementary school. Along busy roads, and I am glad that the sidewalks have been improved in recent years. It’s a cheap way for the kids to get a field trip and some exercise. They usually stop at the park on the way back if it’s a trip to the grocery store for a tour or to the water district facilities. The kids grumble some, but not that much.

  80. E. Simms March 18, 2014 at 7:55 am #

    I followed the google route; there was sidewalk the entire way. Even if the sidewalk was closed in some places, there was accessible grass or parking lot to walk around without going in the street. Well, except for the “extremely dangerous” fifteen feet of narrow sidewalk under the overpass. Did anyone else notice the wider sidewalk on the other side of the narrow two lane road at that point?

    As for some of the girls not having the proper shoes, take a look at the video. Casual dress would have been an improvement. Even if a handful of girls were wearing “heels”, I doubt it was the dressy heels you would wear to a business meeting. Likely something clunkier. Good life lesson, don’t wear spike heels on a field trip.

    I also noticed that the TV station was just past the McDonald’s. I wondered how this even came to their attention. They must have looked out the window and thought “OMG, young adults WALKING.

  81. Warren March 18, 2014 at 9:39 am #

    There is an update to this story.

    The school has now come under fire for students having to walk from class to class. This is consider dangerous and the school is investigating replacing classroom education with online homeschooling.

    A school rep was quoted with “If our students can remain in their own beds for the school day they should be safe. After all safety is our first concern. Educating them a distant second.”

  82. SKL March 18, 2014 at 11:14 am #

    Even if anyone was wearing heels (I didn’t see any), welcome to the real world. Any businesswoman who has had to travel (via air) for her job has walked a lot more than a mile in dress shoes.

    I really think the reporter was having man PMS and just picked the most crabby student to show on TV. I refuse to believe that all the kids were unhappy about a little walking on a breezy, sunny school day.

  83. Warren March 18, 2014 at 3:24 pm #

    How dare the school allow that child to be seen on TV. Now all the predators, rapists and creeps are going to hunt her down. The horror.

  84. SOA March 18, 2014 at 10:42 pm #

    I agree about kids should not wear heels to school anyway unless there is a reason to dress up like giving a speech or something. I was just randomly remarking about it being nice to know ahead of time if walking is going to happen so you can make sure you dress appropriately. But kids typically wear casual as a rule to school which should be fine for walking. I did wear clunky heels to school sometimes but I could walk in them okay as long as I am not walking miles and miles.

    In life pre planning is never a bad thing.

  85. SKL March 19, 2014 at 12:40 am #

    I don’t understand the planning theme. There was a plan. The plan failed. They had to switch to plan B.

    This is life, folks. Sh!t happens. Murphy’s law, the best laid plans, bla bla bla. If only all f’d up plans only resulted in a short walk in sunny, breezy weather.

    These are not babies, they are almost adults; some of them probably are adults already. If they can’t hack a little Plan B now and then, that is a problem! That is THE problem.

    Seems to me that in light of the kids’ apparent discomfort with the concept of Plan B, the school should plan put on a free-range hat and set up some real-life logistical problems for the students to resolve on their own.

  86. E. Simms March 19, 2014 at 10:07 am #

    In all fairness to the kids, except for that one little snowflake, did any of them complain? I think this nonsense is all on the adults.

  87. SOA March 19, 2014 at 11:41 am #

    I agree SKL on the point of yes, we should be able to rise above and figure out a plan B if we have to. BUT and that is a big BUT, I have found good planners make better overall people and seem to be more successful. Because being quick on your feet and innovative, is good. But what is even better is being that AND making sure things go right in the first place. Just saying.

    I don’t think I am failing myself or my kids by being a good planner. For example, they are having a pool party this year. But just in case of rain, I am also booking the clubhouse too and coming up with some indoor activities in case of rain. Now a bad planner would just plan the pool party and not even think about if it rains or thunders and then when it happens have to scramble around like a crazy person figuring stuff out last minute and possibly inconveniencing their guests. That is not how I roll. I have a Plan A and a Plan B set up before the day even comes close to arriving. That is just me and its worked out well for me so far.

    I am teaching my kids to be the same way.

  88. SKL March 19, 2014 at 12:58 pm #

    SOA, did it occur to you that maybe the choice of a McD’s less than a mile from the school WAS part of the plan “just in case” the concert ran over and the buses had to leave? They chose a place to eat that was within easy walking distance of the school. Sounds sensible to me.

    If the kids were left stranded and starving on a desert island, that might be bad planning. But as it turned out, the kids all made it back to school on time and in one piece. As far as I can see, nothing went wrong except for that reporter going in there and stirring sh!t.

    Did anyone do a background check on that reporter before allowing him to get near those poor vulnerable children???

  89. SOA March 19, 2014 at 2:37 pm #

    SKL: good point. Maybe that was the plan. Which honestly I don’t have a problem with that plan.I think having them walk on a beautiful day on a sidewalk safe area is fine. I just brought up the I hope at least they were told to wear sensible shoes. Which generally that is what you wear at school.

    There is a reason when I write travel reviews I always mention parking because people like to know how far they are going to have to walk to get to the restaurant/museum/hotel etc from their car so they can dress and plan accordingly. Its just a nice thing to know.

  90. hineata March 19, 2014 at 9:17 pm #

    @SOA – Sounds like you are good at planning. Good on you :-). However the idea that good planners make ‘better people’ is a little strange. More successful, possibly, but ‘better’?

    Just saying….. :-)

  91. Anna March 20, 2014 at 2:57 pm #

    I find this quite amusing! In my native Finland kids as young as seven are encouraged to walk to and from school by themselves (unless they live over about two miles from the school, in which case they are bussed). This is considered safe practice (for the most part), and as far as I know there are no more accidents involving kids or crimes against kids than anywhere else.


  1. Dateline Nashville: Students Spotted Walking to School — Outside! | Streetsblog USA - March 17, 2014

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