principal of an elementary school in Magnolia, TX, has forbidden parents from picking up their kids to walk them home. No matter how close the children live to the school, they are required to take the bus or be picked up by car, Fox 26 in Houston is reporting.
If not, the local authorities are ready to enforce the rule with arrests for trespassing.
The ostensible reason for this step at Bear Branch Elementary is “safety.” It always is, right? What I couldn’t glean from the story is whether kids are allowed to leave the school, by foot, without a parent at all, which would eliminate the trespassing issue. In any event, that doesn’t seem to be the standard M.O. Â A video of the line of cars at pick-up time looked like a funeral cortege,Â solemnly inching forward.
Parents are so fed up, a few are yanking their kids out of the school.
“She’s threatening to arrest people,” says Wendy Jarman about principal, Holly Ray.
Jarman pulled her children out of the school Monday and placed them in private school. She lives in the neighborhood behind the school. Her kids were walkers, and she escorted them, but they can’t do that anymore.
Ray won’t allow it. Ray has gotten Montgomery County Constables to be her enforcers.
“This has happened to many parents,” Jarman says. “They have been cited. They have been threatened, if they step one foot on school property, they will be arrested and charged with who knows what.”
Frank Young has one of those warnings. He also lives close to the school and he also pulled his children out of it. Young says no effort to negotiate a better policy or even hundreds of signatures on a petition got the district to change the policy or bully tactics.
“Mrs. Ray’s policy is implying that a parent doesn’t have the ability or capability to decide what is safest for her children and that the school district does,” Young says. “I disagree.”
He thinks parents have the right to decide what their kids do outside of school? What a nut! The district backs the principal.
Meantime, you may recall that theÂ number of children walking to school has sunk to a national low of about 13%,Â according to Safe Routes to Schools.
I guess should sit down for yet another segment of their day. Or else. – L
If I were a police officer, i wouldn’t arrest any parent who walked their child to or from school
So called “SAFETY”, if every kid that could walk to school would walk to school, there would be far FEWER cars in and around the school which would be MUCH safer than forcing everyone to drive to the school. In addition to being in a car on the road is one of the most dangerous places for a kid to be. Typical Govt BS it is not about making it safer for your children but about avoiding potential lawsuits end of story.
This isn’t about “safety,” but about an authoritarian, ineffective principal. She will be replaced soon.
Having said that, I would like to see parents call her bluff and continue to come on school grounds. If the outspoken and concerned parents just pull their kids out, it’s more likely that the remaining parents will continue to get bullied, about school drop off and other school issues.
This is ridiculous!! Someone should do just what the principal is trying to avoid – sue the district for discrimination. A public education is supposed to be free. This school is basically saying no child whose parent can’t afford a car can attend unless they live far enough away to qualify for a bus.
The first article I read on this yesterday did not make it clear that all kids had to be transported by car. I originally thought that she was encouraging kids to walk on their own, either from home or the car, rather than being escorted to the door. THAT I would have applauded, though not the heavy-handed tactics.
I am so sick of this ninny state (Freudian typo) that thinks parents are idiots.
Wow. I mean, really. I hope the next news story about Magnolia is about how the parents all parked away from the school and marched up to the school door. Do that every day until things change.
This should be illegal. I hope they get a ton of bad press and worse. Some pro bono lawyer should sue them.
Why has there not been a meeting of the school board convened with the object of replacing this principal?
And, if the board refuses, a quick petition for a recall election for the entire school board? (I once lived in Texas so I know recall elections are a possibility).
I read a comment from a parent who clarified the rule. I tried to find it again for a link but she said they were allowed to walk their child but only after the car pickup line had cleared. They didn’t have a separate entrance for walkers and for cars. I don’t know that that makes it much better but it does make it different.
I found comments that this principal also removed the bike rack from the school.
The comments are now buried. But when I first saw the story yesterday at http://www.sheknows.com/parenting/articles/1118045/school-arrests-parents-for-trespassing a person in the comments had copied in an entire letter from the school district about this to the comments section, and there was another local parent defending the school.
The situation appears to be what has been discussed in comments here that happens at other schools too. Namely the school is refusing to release the students who walk until the cars have cleared. So the walkers are being released a half hour later than the kids getting rides, even if their house is in sight of the school. I don’t like that policy, but I can see why schools might feel the need for it. The other issues is that the school apparently had an incident with a parent violently objecting to the policy, and rather than charging the parent with assault and battery, they thought it better to charge the parent with trespassing so they could ban the parent from the grounds for the rest of the year. Obviously threatening parents with trespassing charges because one parent got violent about trying to take their kid home before the car line cleared, is the wrong move. But it also seems like reporters haven’t done much in the way of actually investigating, and are reporting the opinions of one or two outraged parents, with out the full facts, or in spite of the full set of facts.
Parents should start organizing to pick up each other’s kids, then drop them off again outside the gate. Participating parents, maybe those who regularly drive due to greater distance, would fill the empty seats in their car, then drop the kids off outside the school and let them walk the rest of the way.
“So the walkers are being released a half hour later than the kids getting rides, even if their house is in sight of the school. I donâ€™t like that policy, but I can see why schools might feel the need for it. ”
I have an idea – make the drivers wait until the walkers have “cleared.” As a frequent walker I HATE the unquestioned assumption across our society that people in big metal boxes always and everywhere have precedence over people who aren’t in big metal boxes.
There is a letter from the Superintendent on the school website about this. It is pretty long so I am not going to reprint it here.
It does state that parents can pick their kids up, they just have to wait until all the car riders leave. This is a process that apparently takes about 30 minutes so walkers have to stay in school 30 minutes longer than their peers. It also states that nobody has been arrested, but admits that some parents have had cops come to their homes to deliver warning letters.
It then goes on to be pretty contradictory. By making the walkers wait until all the cars leave, you would think that traffic would be the problem they were attempting to solve. That may be a legitimate problem that needs solving depending on the design of the school. And they do go on to state that this change has increased the speed of release. However, the letter then goes on to state that the reason for this change is because some parent came onto school grounds and got belligerent with the staff. Talks about that incident for a couple paragraphs. I fail to see how making walkers wait until the end of dismissal addresses this situation at all.
Also of note, this appears to be a 100% white upper class school. They have numerous pictures on their website and there is not a single person of color in any of them. One little girl may be hispanic, but is clearly not poor, recent immigrant hispanic.
Most bad decisions, rules and laws are originally done with good intentions. There still need to be consequences if they don’t back down.
“I have an idea â€“ make the drivers wait until the walkers have ‘cleared.'”
I agree with this. The Superintendent states that it is only a small handful of children who walk. There is no reason that that small handful of children need to wait until 30 minutes worth of car traffic clears the school. Nor will it take nearly 30 minutes for these kids to get off the property so the idle wait time is less.
Families and individuals have a variety of transportation methods- walking, biking, driving, and bus riders. Public schools don’t determine how parents get their children to school. This is a personal choice. Some families don’t own cars. Others choose healthy and environmentally conscious ways to get exercise and reduce carbon footprints like walking short distances. Many working parents need to drive their kids to school. Busing is an expensive and inefficient use of precious school budgets and requiring it for all students when there are cheaper, healthier, and more popular methods to get to school.
Kids have every right to walk to school.
Also, it doesn’t say the children will be arrested for trespassing, just the parents. So let the children walk onto the school property by themselves. Find out the property lines and walk them to the edge. Or organize walking groups in the neighborhood. I’m sure they are more than capable. If one of the teachers at this elementary school wanted to bike to work, would this employee be arrested for trespassing or fired for being a biker?
Or a marathoner?
This is all so…Texas. This is why y’all get a bad reputation.
You know, my old elementary school had a problem with cars a couple years back.
There’s now a sign on the street with that elementary school. The school gets out at 3 PM. From 2-3:30, M-F, it’s a one way street. Parents can still come get their kids, but they all come from the same direction, which greatly simplifies where the kids have to look (for safety) and helps prevent congestion. Traffic problem, most possibilities of accidents, and many other problems solved.
But of course, penalizing walkers is easier.
Lenore… Sigh. Kids CAN walk home from school, but they have to wait ~30 minutes until the cars and buses are gone. Please don’t omit such important details, it’s bad enough as it is.
I agree with Anna and Lollipoplover – let the walkers leave first, don’t penalize them for making a responsible choice. Actually, that could also encourage parents to park somewhere further away from the school and then pick them up on foot. If they’re smart enough not to use other people’s driveways or block traffic (of whatever kind, including pedestrians on the sidewalk) when parking their car, maybe it could solve the pick-up line problem completely…?
Parents have every right to ask their local government for a transportation study on this school. Most well-designed schools have a separate entrance for arrival and dismissal of walkers and bikers, a car-free zone. Our school does a staggered dismissal- bikers first, walkers, bus riders, then car pick-up. Instead of increasing taxes to pay additional busing fees or adding more traffic lights around this school due to increased driving, build better routes and sidewalks for these kids to get to school efficiently AND safety. Increasing car traffic actually endangers these children the most.
It doesn’t appear that the walkers had any complaints about safety under the prior to the change in rules. I don’t know that for certain, but I would think that if this change was in response to complaints by the walkers, the Superintendent would have said so in his letter since demanding a solution and then disliking the solution would be worthy of note. So either the school administration is fixing a problem that didn’t exist or the car rider parents complained about the longer release times and got catered to.
Uhmm, 99.9% of schools have other entrances other than the front one? This sounds like short sighted thinking/planning on the part of the principal. The schools here designate another entrance to release the walkers, and they stagger release but it’s only about five minutes between each group, (bus riders, etc). Something about this is not making sense.
“It does state that parents can pick their kids up, they just have to wait until all the car riders leave. This is a process that apparently takes about 30 minutes so walkers have to stay in school 30 minutes longer than their peers.”
How is this not an unlawful detention under color of law? More importantly, why is the school district’s legal counsel not warning them that they’ve opened themselves up to an amazing number of civil rights lawsuits?
I did think of another approach since I put my original response on the thread where this first surfaced… show up BEFORE school lets out, to check your child out of school. Walk right past the line of cars on the way out.
“They have been threatened, if they step one foot on school property, they will be arrested and charged with who knows what.”
I guess I would be one of those who would have to find out what. There is no way any sort of arrest or citation would hold up in court for a parent of a public school child being on public school property.
We are in HISD, and pick-up at our school is a PIA any way you do it, I understand. You either authorize your kids to walk home alone (as I do, but mine are upper elementary), wait for 30 minutes in the car pick up line, or park on the neighboring streets and walk up to get your kid, which I’m sure the neighborhood residents hate. I’ve taught professionally before, and for the last few years substituted in many different schools in the district part time, and there are many work arounds available when a school doesn’t have a separate exit/entrance for walkers. It’s not rocket science. And dropping off in the morning, if you have a bunch of parents walking their kid into the school, clogging up the hallways, and trying to mini-conference with the teacher at the classroom door is annoying, if that’s the problem in the mornings. Our school makes parents sign in to walk their kid back to class, and that curbs the numbers some.
This is trying to solve a minor but persistent problem with an unnecessarily draconian policy that needs to be fought against.
The whole idea that the two ways of getting to school are car or bus seems so bizarre – isn’t the reason some kids are eligible for busing and some not (in principle at least) that kids walk by default, and if they’re not close enough for that they’re eligible for busing? I thought the original idea was that mandatory public education can’t require parents to provide transportation. It’s strange that the choice of those official walkers’ parents to drive them instead has now become normative, and that schools go along with that. If this is what it’s come to, it would make more sense to bus all the kids, wouldn’t it?
Yanking their kids out of the school…
Who needs yanking is the principal, and any elected school district officials that back her.
Good to get as much media coverage and corrective political pressure as possible on this insanity.
It is wrong to make kids stay immobile at school for 30 minutes just because of pickup congestion.
They should have a designated adult act as crossing guard and lead the walkers through the parking lot to some safe place on the other side, as soon as possible after the kids are dismissed from classes. Then it doesn’t matter if they walk home alone or with their parents.
Ok, I’ll ask it again, is it a wonder why American children have become more obese than they were 30 years ago? Talk about safety, shouldn’t a lack of exercise also be considered unsafe for a child’s long term health? But obviously authorities do not consider that and would rather see a bunch of young creampuffs in elementary schools today.
“They should have a designated adult act as crossing guard and lead the walkers through the parking lot to some safe place on the other side,”
No! Not a designated ADULT. How about a designated 6th grade Safety Patrol like we used to have in the 1960s?? You know, the kids who wore the bright orange strap across their chest and were responsible for assuring that the younger kids made it safely across the street? Do kid Safety Patrols even exist anymore in schools?
That is insane! We live .4 miles from my daughter’s school. We walk together to and from school because why I am I going to drive that short of a distance? And why should I have to wait an extra 30 minutes to go get my daughter? Luckily even in her large school, the majority of kids are either walked by their parents or *gasp* walk themselves and we don’t have this problem. The school is literally surrounded on all sides by the neighborhood.
And I walk with my daughter not because I am overprotective, but because she asks me to. She was adopted from foster care and had always wanted a parent to be able to walk her to and from school. I am embracing this as long as she allows it.
@John, we too had that safety patrol back in the early 1990s for 5th graders. I was 9 when I started as I had skipped a grade and we were out there with zero supervision at a busy intersection. Wore our bright orange vests and held signs in the street and put out cones in said street as there were no stop signs there during my time. I always felt so bad-ass making the cars stop. That was real power to a 5th grader!
“No! Not a designated ADULT. How about a designated 6th grade Safety Patrol like we used to have in the 1960s?? You know, the kids who wore the bright orange strap across their chest and were responsible for assuring that the younger kids made it safely across the street? Do kid Safety Patrols even exist anymore in schools?”
We still had it in the late 70’s, but somewhere between then and now, it disappeared. The job is still there, but now it’s done by a parent volunteer. (Well, or automation. My daughter’s former grade school has a stoplight and crossing signals)
This is about 40 miles from where I live. I am so disgusted by the tyranny of that principal and even more so by the district for supporting the policy. What is needed is a family living within walking distance and without a car and with a child in school there who are willing to push this to the only possible conclusion there could be if it were pushed long and hard enough.
I don’t understand how a school has the authority to make policies like that. Nor was I aware that police could enforce them. Nothing legal about it. What is happening in Texas?
We still have safety patrol and dismissal line leaders (upper grades) and they are kids.
If they have good procedures, kids can be leaders to younger classmates and run a safe dismissal with no adults. Problems happen with confusion over changes in dismissal(made by adults), with different pickups, etc. God bless these school secretaries who have to deal with all of this nonsense!
We always dismiss as walkers. I can scoop them up on a neighboring road that’s away from the swarm of bees at the school road if we have an appointment but I never do car pick up, unless I’m actually at the school for an event (not often). Car line pick-up is like a circle of hell, driving through a parking lot with kids playing frogger, in and out of cars.
This school needs to dismiss walkers/bikers first.
Crazy dismissal procedures make for crazy, aggravated parents and drivers. Figure out how your parents want to get their kids to school and work WITH them, not against them. You will find most parents are trying their best and kids are far more capable of walking themselves to school efficiently without all of this adult intervention.
Let them walk, applaud them for freeing up budget dollars in transportation (walking is FREE!), and build them a sidewalk to keep them out of their biggest killer, CARS.
John, Patrollers are definitely still a thing up here in Albert, Canada, done by grade 5& 6ers. Btw, I lived half a block from my elementary school and would have HATED being made to wait 1/2 an hour to go homeâ€”as others have said, let us go first. Plus, many parents would have had to park further down on the street than my house. Dumb.
“I donâ€™t understand how a school has the authority to make policies like that.”
I was wondering about that, too. A school principal isn’t a business owner or a homeowner who can tell people to get off her lawn.
Prisoners get more outside than kids. The prisoners can’t imagine how they could survive with the amount kids get.
I went to play badminton on Saturday at Britannia High School-in Vancouver.
In Vancouver, certain schools are adjacent to swimming pools, community centres and ice rinks.
They work as a unit.
This is true of Britannia High School, and Killarney High School, and to a less extent King George V High School and Kitsilano High School-and Templeton High School.
There are 16 secondary schools in Vancouver, Canada.
This permits the giving of swimming lessons, and skating lessons-to teenagers-and to pre-teens.
(The walk is very short.)
One community centre staff member says that a large number of high school students are chauffeured to school.
One woman with a 7-year old girl tells me this.
Her school will NOT let children play on the school grounds after school(unless an adult is operating the program.
If that is the case, the children must be picked up right away.
Our school has dealt with many dismissal problems and strategies. Occasionally they try to make things even safer by adding on more rules. On the whole, with new parking lots/drop off areas, it is much safer, and the whole process for almost 900 students takes about 15 minutes. I would be livid if the school tried to keep my kids 30 minutes after the bell. The school day is long enough and I pick them up in the car just so they can have more than 30 minutes before dark to rest and play (the bus drops off about 30 minutes after the bell and we live too far to bike or walk). A while back, they started holding the park-and-pickup kids hostage inside the building during rainstorms. The parents were supposed to wait outside in the weather while they used a walkie-talkie system to call kids outside individually “for their safety.” What about my safety?? It was ridiculous. The first time this happened, after standing in the rain and lightning wondering where our kids were, I led the charge to the building, called for my kids myself, and took them. The idea that the school can keep our kids after school hours instead of releasing them to a parent, or a parent-sanctioned walk home–is crazy. I wish administrators would talk to parents about solution to problems like this and listen to our perspectives–we might actually have some workable ideas.
“Her school will NOT let children play on the school grounds after school(unless an adult is operating the program.”
The local school has the rule that the kids have to go home (leave) and come back.
This is because the school and its staff remain responsible for children until they leave, and, not surprisingly, they’d like to go home at the end of the school day.
There are a couple of exceptions… students can be dismissed from school into the custody of sports leagues which have practices on the school fields (because the coaches become responsible for the kids) and students can be dismissed from school into the custody of the on-site daycare operation (which pays rent to the school for the use of the building and grounds between the end of the school day and 6:00, and all day on days with no school.
This is a polar opposite from where I live. We live a half mile from the school and we walk. Because it’s a charter school, it’s public…but there’s no bus service because it would literally mean going all over the city of 90,000+ people to pick up around 500 students. If you want to get to this school, you walk, you come with friends/parents in a car, you take public transportation, ride your bike, whatever. If I were told that I had to drive my kid to school, I think I’d probably switch schools, also.
>Prisoners get more outside than kids. The prisoners canâ€™t imagine how they could survive with the amount kids >get.
Hmm, maybe we should make a show like Scared Straight, except the prisoners have to go to school for a day.
Back on the OT, I think the bigger problem is why the school needs to dismiss walkers, and why there’s a half hour line of cars for pick up. Didn’t kids used to just leave school?
Last summer, I saw Lenore speak, and she acted out the pick up procedure, with kids in a gym, teachers outside on walkie-talkies, saying “Becky’s mom is here” and a teacher hustling Becky out the door, all in all looking more like a warzone evacuation than anything else. Is that really how it is?
I do remember when I was in middle school, and used to ride my bike to school. The school suddenly got rid of its bike racks, announcing that biking to school was unsafe. After they found, day after day, bikes chaining to the school fence, they brought the racks back.
Magnolia is near Houston where my cousins and I grew up in the golden age of childhood.
We were on our own all the time. It was so fun!
Houston, Harris County and Magnolia have seriously regressed over the years.
I left Texas years ago to avoid raising a family there.
One might assume the crime rate there (against kids) must be horrid. But it isn’t. This is the usual worst first paranoia that has been sweeping the country. Or preventative backside covering. Lawsuit prevention, most likely.
Or maybe it’s a method to raise money through all the arrests these regulations will generate.
It is not about what is best for the kid or the family. It is social insurance for the school district.
I live in New York now. Our community news headline yesterday: City Safest In Decades.
Recent studies show the same is true nationwide.
Is Magnolia a backlash against good news?
That’s what I think: the public is in denial.
How do we answer those whose minds are made up–permanently?
If they would study health in children, they would encourage kids moving their bodies in space.
Read: The Importance of Being Little. Learn how kids in Finland got to the smartest kids in the world–by running around outside most of the school day.
“Our school has dealt with many dismissal problems and strategies. Occasionally they try to make things even safer by adding on more rules.”
It used to be simple.
At the sound of the final bell, the walking kids got up and walked out, perhaps stopping at a locker before leaving the building.
The other kids walked to the buses and boarded the buses.
But that’s too simple for today’s … uh, simpletons.
What about bicycles built for two or unicycles ?
This is one of the articles on the prisoners getting more outdoor time than children:
It is saddening and maddening to think how we turned *arrival *and *dismissal* into this safety circus of *drop-off* and *pick-up* and the children are just prisoners to the illogical adults in charge who don’t deserve to be. Parents and especially children shouldn’t have to put up with this nonsense.
“It used to be simple.
At the sound of the final bell, the walking kids got up and walked out, perhaps stopping at a locker before leaving the building.
The other kids walked to the buses and boarded the buses.”
This is how it was for me, and for my own kids who are 29 and 24 now. What happened in one generation? It can’t be kidnapping, because we’d hear about it every day if kids were being kidnapped at dismissal. Is it more pickups? My mom certainly wasn’t going to ever pick me up from school, nor did I pick up mine…..but in the same town where my kids grew up, I can’t even stand driving during the after school hours because of all the traffic.
So maybe that’s what it is – too many parents decided they HAVE to pick up their kids, and dismissal got out of control.
I like your comparison there between “arrival” and “dismissal” vs. “pick-up” and “drop-off.”
I read a book a while back – can’t remember what it was – that talked about how the language we use helps to define our outlook on life. Using passive language and speaking of how other things effect your life causes, to some extent, a feeling of helplessness. Using active language and speaking of your own actions/abilities, however, gives one a sense of having some control in their lives.
Sorry I’m late, traffic held me up.
Sorry I’m late, I failed to anticipate traffic.
According to this idea, even though both sentences are saying essentially the same thing, the first sentence puts traffic in control of your life while the second puts you in control. I started thinking about and changing the words I use and, while it hasn’t made a huge impact on my life, it has made some differences. I feel happier, less stressed out. I also finally started losing weight after years, I went for a promotion at work I’m not sure I would have dared going for years ago – and got it. I’ve also noted an improvement in how my supervisors and managers speak to me; rather than assuming I’m coming up with an excuse, I own my actions and accept responsibility.
In your example, the “new” terms used automatically assume someone else is in charge of the children. Someone is doing the picking up or the dropping off, leaving one to assume that the children are incapable of such themselves. This worm will insinuate itself into the minds of both children and adults. Some will reject it, I don’t doubt, but I fear many more will accept it and as more accept it, it becomes more acceptable, normal, unquestioned.
I wonder just how much such a difference changes the course of one’s life.
I wonder how many of the driver parents support this. Were my kid waiting to walk, I’d be furious. I bet some busy whiny parents didn’t want to interrupt their drives to wait for the walkers to be excused.
What is their safety concern? Is it that they don’t want parents on the school grounds? This is the only thing I can think of because nothing else makes any sense. (although that hasn’t stopped rulemakers before)
I’m 100% in agreeance with you. Although this difference seems trivial, it’s like a boat rudder. This small change in direction makes a bigger and bigger difference as time goes on.
As far as I can tell with local schools, they mirror what we had as kids. Some kids act as crossing guards. Walkers and bike riders leave when the bell rings. While they are leaving, the other kids load on the buses. When buses are loaded, in about 10 minutes, they leave, which leaves plenty of time for walkers to be out of the way. Then…the cars. Only…no one actually picked up kids with cars when I was in school, except high school and that was other students (who left before the buses to be out of the way.)
Why make the walkers wait? But…it seems like a method of getting all the kids to ride a bus or in a car…otherwise, why make the walkers wait, and why remove the bikes.
Makes me wonder if like when we were in cash strapped CA they are making busing students pay a fee to ride the bus at that school system. They wanted to charge $100 per kid, per family, no exceptions. Then…they had no one riding the buses. So they let free and reduced lunch kids ride for $25 for the first kid. Then, $25 for any kid.
To finish my reply, by the time my daughter was in kinder, they just scraped the whole “pay to ride” thing because they found that parents were MUCH more likely to drive their kids, which caused problems. And, for poor families, I think they found that they had a lot of kids absent as they couldn’t afford to pay to ride the bus, and didn’t always have a way to school. Which, as CA pays (or at least did then) for each student each day, when lots of kids are out, it really hurts the bottom line as the teachers still show up.
Is she out of her mind? All I hear is that big government should get out of our lives in terms of regulations which actually protect the American people…like food and drug safety, building codes, manufacturing regulations. Proponents of this type of policy, however, just want to meddle in our private lives. Talk about mixed-up priorities.
And here, we encourage people to walk their kids to school, or bike to school every Wednesday so that adults and children get exercise due to obesity problem.
“This is all soâ€¦Texas. This is why yâ€™all get a bad reputation.”
Just saying, 45 miles south of Magnolia in Katy, TX, the school district cut funding for busses and encouraged kids to start walking to school. My neighborhood came alive with kids walking to and from school twice a day.
There’s still way too many people clogging up the entrance to the neighborhood (and breaking traffic laws while they do) to drop off and pick up their kids by car. But it’s great to see how many kids walk now.
How is this enforceable?
“How is this enforceable?”
If nobody stands up to it, it enforces itself.
This is a great piece on letting kids experience risk.
@Michelle- Our neighborhood came alive too when they cut buses to surrounding neighborhoods with transportation budget cuts and many more kids than I ever expected commuting to school, safely, without parents. I’ve met many more local families out and about retrieving kids than I ever would driving thru in a car.
And I live not far from the school that required permission slips for Oreos. Go figure.
Is this anywhere near where Jo and Chip do Fixer Upper? I have a girl crush on Jo and shiplap and that show does gives me some Texas envy…these stories, not so much!
“If nobody stands up to it, it enforces itself.”
This is very true, and happens way too often in modern life.
I think that the policy is ridiculous, as I stated earlier, but here is the rationale for it. Believing that predators are constantly lurking on or near school grounds to grab a child whenever possible, many schools enforce a policy of not allowing anyone to step on school property unless they are headed straight for the front door to go through the sign-in procedure for visitors. They also enforce policies of not allowing a child to leave the school property unless they are seen to be in the care of an adult. Otherwise, the little dears might walk straight into the arms of Chester the Molester the second they stepped over the school property line. This principal has just gone to the extreme in controlling and enforcing this. The sad part is, and Lenore has pointed out in something earlier, that if the child were trying to get taken by a stranger who would harm him, he would have to stand there waiting to be abducted for several thousand years, I think it was, before it would happen.
I have no idea if Lollipoplover’s comment was actually meant for me, but I do like the idea of a transportation study for any school. How many kids are within walking distance, how many within cycling distance, are they coming from roughly the same directions? Etc.
If you have those data, preferably over a couple of years, you could use it to determine where you need to improve/build walking and cycling infrastructure, like a sort of spider web around each school.
Generally speaking, I think streets should be made safe enough for middle school kids and older to walk or cycle *themselves* to school. Preferably younger kids too, but you’ve got to start somewhere 🙂
THIS CAN’T BE TRUE!!! Was it April’s fool’s day??
@lollipoplover – I recently discovered that show and I’m hooked! Sadly, Waco is a good 3-4 hours from Magnolia.
I can’t wait for the day when microchips are implanted in the brains of infants. Imagine our babes being safe 24/7! little johnny could call Mommy or the Cops by thought!
@Angela, you’re quite right. There are plenty of instances where a difference in words, or even in usage, makes a difference in thought over time. Some are probably good ( saying “firefighter” over “fireman” doesn’t sound stitled and there are plenty of women who do that job admirably), occasionally they may be more accurate words, some are not good, like the active/passive point you’ve made, and others end up being negative. An example is the word “bully”. Where it was once a noun for that kid who’d pick on anyone who’d put up with it, has become a verb for anyone picking on anyone else.
(then too there are clunky misuses that have come into being, such as the noun “gift” being used as a verb instead of the verb “to give” which makes me say “Huh?”)
What astounds me about this kind of stuff is like. . .
It overestimates the very small risk of walking home? (What on earth is going to happen to a child walking home with their parents? Or uh, are we worried that kidnap commandos, masquerading as parents will use this to enter school grounds) and completely underestimate the very large risk of health issues from not getting enough exercise.
Never have I seen such a case of photogenic risk management.
“What astounds me about this kind of stuff is like. . .
It overestimates the very small risk of walking home?”
You’re assuming these people actually care about safety, just because they insert the word into their replies.
They care about control, period. Stop listening to what they say and observe what they do and it’s clear.
For the sake of the math, say the school year is 30 weeks. 1/2 hour per day totals 3.125 days, 24 hour days per year. Kindergarten through grade 8 total of 28.125 days. The equivalent of the month of February.
No way in hell would anyone let a school detain their kid for a month, and that is what they are doing just in small installments.
Let them charge me with trespassing, my attorney would love it.
>>For the sake of the math, say the school year is 30 weeks. 1/2 hour per day totals 3.125 days, 24 hour days per year. Kindergarten through grade 8 total of 28.125 days. The equivalent of the month of February.
No way in hell would anyone let a school detain their kid for a month, and that is what they are doing just in small installments.
Let them charge me with trespassing, my attorney would love it.<<
Warren, you're right, but how would the school even enforce that? Let's say it happened at your kids' school. Let's say that you told your child to come straight home after school, so there'd be time to get to, say, Scouts, or baseball practice, or music lessons. School is walking distance away from home, but the Scout meeting/baseball diamond/music teacher's house isn't, so the plan is for you to meet Kiddo at home when you get off work, and then drive to the activity together. Kiddo leaves after school to walk home, as per the plan. School objects. Kiddo relays what you said. The next day, you get a call from the school, and you reply that the school has no business telling you how to parent. How could they possibly argue with that? They couldn't kick your child out of the school, because they don't have jurisdiction over the kids outside of school hours, and they don't have jurisdiction over you at any time. Also, school attendance is mandatory for minors, so by having these policies, they're basically exerting control over every family of school-aged children in the district, for years on end. That's just messed up.
How do they deal with this in the morning? I assume the same kids walking in the afternoon walk in the morning. Do they have to arrive 30 minutes early?
Are the kids even safe to walk to their parent’s cars? They better have a drive-through window to pass the kids out in little cushioned baskets.
>>Are the kids even safe to walk to their parentâ€™s cars? They better have a drive-through window to pass the kids out in little cushioned baskets.<<
Some schools have an adult accompany the kids to their parents' cars, either one by one, or in small groups as the parents arrive. I'm pretty sure this is just with the youngest kids, but it still seems like a bit much.
This is one of those days on which I am blessedly grateful to be childless. My goodness.
“Do kid Safety Patrols even exist anymore in schools?”
They did as recently as 2000, when I spent many an exciting afternoon trying to corral spaced-out six-year-olds through the side exit whence car riders and walkers were released and delivering them to my fellow Patrol who watched the crosswalk. Any adult demonstrating an interest in the well-being and whereabouts of a particular child was presumed to be the child’s parent/guardian unless something indicated otherwise. This, by the way, was a craphole of a neighborhood at the time.
Pretty sure they exist less and less, though. By the time my brother was in fifth grade, they had instituted the take-a-number-and-wait-in-line BS. AAA, which sponsors them, has just informed me that they don’t exist in the killjoy state to which work has forced me to relocate.
Texas = Spindletop = Big Oil = car-happy euphoria and no child should ever budge without the aid and assistance of an infernal combustion engine. Such is life down there in lonestar.
(and that was not necessarily a typo describing the engine.)
It must feel just delicious for a mere principal to have that kind of community power.