Was this Footage FAKED? Children Walk on EARTH!

Love this video that I snagged from The rhaifiknyr
 (thanks to old pal Peter Rabinowitz!). As I like to point out at talks I give: In my day, there was “arrival” at school, and “dismissal.” Now it’s “drop off” and “pick up” — as if the kids have become FedEx packages. – L

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39 Responses to Was this Footage FAKED? Children Walk on EARTH!

  1. Ann in L.A. February 4, 2015 at 11:53 pm #

    Another thing that struck me–though it was so staged, it’s hard to tell whether it is meaningful–is the fact that none of the kids are trekking with 20-30 pound backpacks and an laptop/tablet with bulky charger.

    Part of the problem these days is that kids have too much heavy stuff to carry, with so much of schoolwork done at home at night.

  2. J.T. Wenting February 5, 2015 at 12:35 am #

    And they’re not even bundled up against the cold… Must be less than 20 degrees Celcius there because we all know it’s only because of Global Warming that temperatures are now sometimes above that…

    And one girl has a flower in her hair. How’d that ever be allowed, don’t they know there’s kids with pollen allergy? Criminally irresponsible!

  3. Walter Underwood February 5, 2015 at 1:13 am #

    Here is a film from the Los Angeles School District about walking to school, courtesy of the Prelinger Archives.


  4. Donald February 5, 2015 at 1:17 am #

    Thirty years ago, in the summer of 1975, Jaws had moviegoers paralyzed by fear. Millions of beachgoers heeded the advice of the movie’s tagline—”Don’t go in the water.” They filed into theaters instead, and Jaws became the biggest box office hit to date. Real-life shark attacks, though widely publicized, are extremely rare. People in U.S. coastal areas, for example, are about a hundred times more likely to be struck and killed by lightning than killed by a shark. According to the Florida Museum of Natural History’s International Shark Attack File, there were 61 unprovoked shark attacks worldwide in 2004, resulting in seven deaths. “Those are ridiculously low numbers when you consider the billions and billions of human hours spent in the water every year,”

  5. Suzanne Lucas February 5, 2015 at 3:05 am #

    Another difference I find fascinating—when I was a kid, if I was sick and stayed home, my mom sent me back to school the next day with a note. With my kids, I have to call the school and tell them that my child will be absent. If I don’t do it, the school calls and chews me out.

    The assumption in my school days was not there=sic. The assumption now is not there=kidnapped on the way in.

  6. Anna February 5, 2015 at 3:38 am #

    I think it is staged. Where are their book bags?

  7. BL February 5, 2015 at 4:07 am #

    Why do kids need to walk to get to know their neighborhoods when they can see everything on Google Street View?

    (rolls eyes)

  8. Rick February 5, 2015 at 6:22 am #

    While 40 years ago I viewed school as like a prison and detested it, today it IS a prison complete with metal detectors, police guards and permission slips to go to the bathroom. Parents have become night-time wardens for the state to watch kids until they arrive back at “school”. Clearly, “school” itself has become the most dangerous place for kids, mentally and physically.

    ‘Roughly 1500 kids are tied up or locked down every day by school officials in the United States.

    ‘At least 500 students are locked up in some form of solitary confinement every day, whether it be a padded room, a closet or a duffel bag. In many cases, parents are rarely notified when such methods are used.

    ‘On any given day when school is in session, kids who “act up” in class are pinned facedown on the floor, locked in dark closets, tied up with straps, bungee cords and duct tape, handcuffed, leg shackled, tasered or otherwise restrained, immobilized or placed in solitary confinement in order to bring them under “control.”’

    Read the rest here: http://us4.campaign-archive2.com/?u=f6eb78f457b7b82887b643445&id=52d1f5dee0&e=98a3e0d93e

  9. Rick February 5, 2015 at 6:28 am #

    Oh, and when I didn’t walk to school in kindergarten I rode my bike.

  10. Jen February 5, 2015 at 6:47 am #

    I too noticed the lack of enormous backpacks. I think it’s ridiculous that kids in k-4 are doing homework at night (beyond some sort of special project once in awhile). They need the down time to recharge and to burn off some energy, preferably outside! When I was in elementary school. I carried a lunchbox-that was it. I came home on the bus to any empty house, took care of the pets and then entertained myself or played with friends (must leave a note) until my folks got home. Today, my daughter leaves on the bus at 8-spends the day at school and then is warehoused at the school (please, god, no more oriental trading company crafts!) until her father or I can pick her up between 5-6. At least in a few years, the bus driver will be “allowed” to drop her off without needing to actually see an adult at the bus stop waiting – she’ll be 12.

  11. BL February 5, 2015 at 7:07 am #

    “Read the rest here: http://us4.campaign-archive2.com/?u=f6eb78f457b7b82887b643445&id=52d1f5dee0&e=98a3e0d93e

    More here in the “War on Kids” documentary …


    … which, among other things, compares a walk-through of a prison with a walk-through of a school. Remarkably similar.

  12. Beth February 5, 2015 at 7:12 am #

    @Suzanne Lucas,so true! I was shocked when my oldest started school to find that the note after the fact just didn’t fly any more.

    In our school district,you, in effect, call your kid in sick to an answering machine. Though they say it’s for “safety” because kidnappers, there’s no method of identifying if the caller (who doesn’t have to state their name, though I’m sure most do) is actually a parent/guardian of the child ie. providing your child’s or your social security number, or student ID #. Not that I would advocate that, but if you’re going to have security theater, make it good!! As it stands, the kidnapper could call the kid in sick and no one would be the wiser.

  13. Shelly Stow February 5, 2015 at 8:19 am #

    Don’t know what you mean by staged. It was made to be shown to kids at school in either P.E.–which everyone took–or home room or maybe health. The close-ups would have been directed; the footage of kids walking may have been just candid shots. It looks late 50-ish, and that was my time as a kid, and it looks exactly like it was. Back packs didn’t exist. We had school satchels. I don’t remember taking anything home in the lower grades. In high school we carried our books–they weren’t that heavy, and we only had homework in one or two a night. I finished almost all homework at school after I finished the class work. Then I read a library book. Kids read then. And we walked or rode bikes all over town.

  14. Andy February 5, 2015 at 8:49 am #

    That footage is fake! Just like the moon landing and the bigfoot film.

  15. Jill February 5, 2015 at 8:53 am #

    That was in an era when many families had only one car or no car, in some cases. Dad took the car or the bus to work so the kids had to walk to school and it was good for them.
    Now it seems like kids expect to be driven to school because that’s what their friends do. Some kids still hoof it in my neighborhood, but many more are transported by frenzied moms driving SUVs at warp speed as if they’re being pursued by some unimaginable Lovecraftian horror.
    The old days had their drawbacks, like polio and the Red Scare and segregation, but encouraging kids to walk to school was something they did right.

  16. Hancock February 5, 2015 at 9:58 am #

    In the eighties:

    “Mom, can I have a ride to school?”

    “No, and stop bellyaching. It’s not going to kill you to walk”


    “Mom, can I walk to school”



    “Because you might die”

  17. Ben February 5, 2015 at 10:04 am #

    The primary factor contributing to the lack of walking to school is modern auto-centric development. Not only are houses spread out and uses strictly segregated, schools are often located on the edge of town serviced by large, dangerous roads. Instead of the small neighborhood school that can fit in a nice-sized lot amidst the homes of its students, most schools now occupy enormous campuses far away that can only be reached by bus or car. If we want to reverse this trend we need to address the political mandates and cultural pressures that have led to this situation.

  18. pentamom February 5, 2015 at 10:17 am #

    The lack of backpacks is no reflection of what it was really like back then. If those had been real kids really walking to school, instead of staged for the film, they at least would have had lunchboxes, and the older kids certainly would have been carrying books in some way.

    I know for a fact younger kids had less homework back then — even when I was in the elementary school in the 70’s, I had no homework until 2nd grade and then very little until junior high, or maybe sixth grade. But you can’t get an accurate idea from this film because it’s not intending to portray that aspect of it accurately.

  19. Marianna February 5, 2015 at 10:19 am #

    While I would love to see more kids walking to school, please keep in mind that it’s simply not feasible everywhere. Where I live, there are no flat, straight, sidewalk-lined streets like in the video. Also, many (if not most) kids around here don’t live within walking distance of their schools.

    There is actually an elementary school within walking distance of my house, and if my son ends up going there, he will walk. Since the route includes a hilly street with blind curves and no shoulder or sidewalk, I would want to walk with him until I was sure he could navigate the route safely on his own. However, the school district wants to get rid of that small neighborhood school, along with a couple of others, and combine them into one big mega-school that wouldn’t be walkable for us (or likely anyone else, for that matter). Or we might end up sending him to a magnet or private school. Any of those situations mean we would end up driving to school, regardless of what I would prefer.

  20. pentamom February 5, 2015 at 10:22 am #

    “Back packs didn’t exist. We had school satchels.”

    Yes, but those kids don’t. The kid riding up on the bike looks to be 13 or 14 — kids that age definitely had at least some homework, might have had sports equipment, or a band instrument…and most kids had lunchboxes. I don’t know when school lunch programs became universal, but lots of kids continued to bring their lunches to school at least until the 80s. It’s staged, not real, if *all* the kids are walking around totally empty-handed.

  21. lollipoplover February 5, 2015 at 10:45 am #

    It saddens me that children were once capable to handle their own commute (arrival and dismissal) but are now passively exchanged at drop-off and pick-up. We make *improvements* to schools by creating driving lanes but have inadequate sidewalks and pedestrian/bike trails to support those who want their kids to walk to school safely.

    I won’t judge those who drive their kids to school for what is the best fit for their family. I drove a truck full of 13 year-olds in this morning because they couldn’t take their ski equipment on the bus and have ski club today.

    My younger children walked today in the snow (their choice). There’s quite a few houses they don’t shovel in the winter and if forces the kids to walk in the street but it doesn’t seem to bother them. It is preferable and faster than the ridiculous car lines and traffic that are created around the school during rush hour when they only allow a 15 minute window for parents to drop their “packages” off at school.

    The last time we did drop-off, I witnessed a dad who apparently still had child-lock doors on his SUV exit and walk around to let his 8 year-old daughter out, hug her, and give her some daily affirmations (how sweet) while holding up the line that extended onto the main highway in our town for a good 4 minutes. Perhaps we can speed things up by teaching her not to open the car door during car trips and walk out of the vehicle on her own? You want more kids to walk to school? Some of them can’t even be trusted to get out of the car on their own.

  22. ARM February 5, 2015 at 11:01 am #

    I’m not sure it is staged – at least the large group shots. Like others have said, there wasn’t much homework in elementary school, and as for lunchbags, even when I started school around 1980, people who lived close enough used to go home for lunch, and I gather that in my parents’ day (around when the footage was shot), everybody did so. My mom thought of it as a bit weird and new-fangled to eat lunch at school.

    I always walked to school. I started walking alone (some days) at seven, and by eight I was the one in charge, walking with my six-year-old sister. I guess that’s all illegal now, but then my question is, have they changed bus guidelines to fit, or are is bus eligibility still following the guidelines from back then when kids were allowed to walk?

    We weren’t entitled to take the bus because our walk was only about a mile, but if kids that age are no longer allowed to walk, shouldn’t they all be bussed? Not that I think it should be that way, but the current situation seems massively inconsistent, and makes messy and dangerous drop-off/pick-up traffic inevitable.

  23. pentamom February 5, 2015 at 11:24 am #

    The kids who rode the bus weren’t going to be going home for lunch. And there was only one girl out of all of them, regardless of age, who was carrying a single book. Having “much less” homework does not mean that only one out of dozens of kids is likely to have needed to carry a book home and back AT ALL.

    Staged doesn’t mean faked — I’m sure it was representative of what kids did as far as walking and taking the bus on their own. But it was staged for the film, almost certainly. Showing kids carrying stuff just wasn’t a concern of the message they were trying to show, so they didn’t mess with that stuff.

  24. Vicky February 5, 2015 at 12:12 pm #

    Outstanding. Love it. This so needs to become the norm again.

  25. Vicky February 5, 2015 at 12:12 pm #

    Outstanding. Love it. This so needs to become the norm again.

  26. Beth February 5, 2015 at 1:12 pm #

    Totally anecdotal, but I started school in 1965. There wasn’t a close elementary school, so I took the bus in kindergarten (half-day) and first grade. In first grade, yes, the bus brought us home for lunch and took us back for the afternoon.

    By second grade, they’d built a new school in my part of the city, so I could walk…and walk I did (my dad had the lone car every day!). I also came home for lunch, as did everyone in my elementary school, until 6th grade. My elementary school didn’t even offer hot lunch nor did it have anything designated as a lunchroom. Lots of kids went home still in middle school, but it was far enough for me that, even though I always walked or biked, I really had to motor to get home for lunch and back.

    This is a very long-winded way of saying, I can totally understand the kids in this video NOT carrying lunchboxes.

    (I was actually a little peeved that I didn’t need a lunchbox. I wanted one just like Buffy Davis’s on Family Affair!)

  27. Gina February 5, 2015 at 1:24 pm #

    Reading this blog makes me feel guilty for not living within walking distance to my kids’ school. I think they’ll be okay, though, with taking the bus in the morning and me picking them up in the afternoon. One of the main reasons I pick them up is they get an extra twenty minutes of downtime at home–which doesn’t sound like a lot, but when the bus drops off 30 minutes before dark, it makes a difference. Also we have a nice routine where we meet in the pickup area, and we chat about our days during the ride home. And while I’m waiting for them, I can chat with other parents. I walk with them to the bus stop too, in the mornings, and have gotten to know more neighbors that way. I’d like to give my kids more freedom but I’m also using them to make connections within our community.

  28. RJ February 5, 2015 at 3:43 pm #

    One of the biggest changes in the school system is that kids that act up or don’t behave are labeled and then put on psych meds. There are millions of school kids that are on drugs today.
    That is an important factor in the deteriorated condition of todays society. cchr.org

  29. Ann February 6, 2015 at 6:22 am #

    what’s worse is when the school calls the dismissal a “release” as if they’ve been in prison

  30. BL February 6, 2015 at 7:08 am #

    “what’s worse is when the school calls the dismissal a “release” as if they’ve been in prison”

    The next step will be to call dismissal “parole” or “probation”.

    Homeschooling will be “house arrest”.

  31. pentamom February 6, 2015 at 9:01 am #

    “This is a very long-winded way of saying, I can totally understand the kids in this video NOT carrying lunchboxes.”

    But I don’t understand how this explains the kids who ride the bus not carrying lunchboxes.

  32. pentamom February 6, 2015 at 9:02 am #

    “This is a very long-winded way of saying, I can totally understand the kids in this video NOT carrying lunchboxes.”

    But I don’t understand how this explains the kids who ride the bus not carrying lunchboxes. Was it all grades where the bus took kids back and forth for lunch?

  33. Tony February 6, 2015 at 1:11 pm #

    I was noticing how few fat kids there were.

  34. Rose Huebschwerlen February 7, 2015 at 1:39 pm #

    When I was a child growing up in Whitehorse, Yukon my mother allowed me to bike from our place on the Mayo Road into Whitehorse. It was a 15 MILE trip. I learned to be careful of traffic, I learned that my action could cause trouble for someone else if I wasn’t careful, I learned to be adventurous. I appreciated the woods and the animals in them. It prepared me to become independent and self-reliant and better prepared me for the day I lost my mother to a traffic accident when I was 10 years old.

  35. Papilio February 7, 2015 at 7:47 pm #

    I didn’t have homework (okay, sometimes a topography test, which involved taking 1 A4 piece of paper home) until 7th grade and went home for lunch, so yes, I did walk to primary school empty-handed. The only times I had a backpack then was when we had PE.

    And sprawl and living beyond walking distance from school and the land use issues Ben mentions are a few more reasons to build decent cycling infrastructure. Too far to walk isn’t necessarily too far to bike.

  36. Brenda Akers February 9, 2015 at 12:26 am #

    In the time period that this video appears to be made, schools were not yet integrated.

  37. Jill February 9, 2015 at 6:25 pm #

    Slightly off-topic but perhaps part of the reason for moms accompanying their kids to the bus stop in the morning is the opportunity to talk to other moms about what’s going on at school and neighborhood news. Married women with school-age children in the fifties and early sixties often didn’t work outside the home so they had all day to do that kind of thing. Not that life was better back then, but it was more laid back in some respects.

  38. Phillip February 11, 2015 at 1:57 am #

    The fact that this is staged is irrelevant. I went to grammar school in the 50’s,60’s.All kids who lived within 1/2 mile of school were required to walk to school.Everybody else took the school bus.Even then you may have to walk 5 blocks to get to the school bus stop.Before I started kindergarten, my dog and I would walk, with my older brothers, to the school bus,(3 blocks). They would get on the bus, I would return home.When I started kindergarten, 1/2 day,when I got off the school bus my dog was waiting for me. After checking in at home, I was off to play, unsupervised.
    We did carry a composition notebook, but not much else.In the forth grade my best friend played the bass fiddle. Every Thursday we would carry it on the school bus, so he could practice. Every had the opportunity to learn a musical instrument. Also, starting in the second grade, the whole class would walk 1/2 mile to the public library every week, weather permitting.
    There’s a school bus stop 1/2 block from me.There will be 20 cars with 1 kid each waiting for the school bus. When the weather is nice,the kids stand on one side of the street, and the parents stand on the other.They don’t move till they see their kid get on the bus.Some of these kids are bigger than their parents.
    My how things have changed.

  39. Steve February 15, 2015 at 8:44 pm #

    For those who think this film was staged. It might have been — but it looks exactly like what I experienced in the 1950s and 60s.

    Also, in this film, the two older girls at :57 seconds are both carrying books against their bodies. Take another look. It’s clearer at 1:02.

    The particular day or time of day this footage was shot might explain why more were not carrying something.
    Some commenters on this blog have mentioned going home for lunch. I attended an elementary school in a Chicago suburb where the only kids who brought a lunch were those who lived too far away to go home for lunch. If that was the practice at the school in this video, think about it. Students returning from lunch would probably not be carrying anything.

    I went to school in 5 different states. Only that one grade school I mentioned had no cafeteria. In the others, Ninety-nine percent of the kids ate in the cafeteria and did NOT bring lunches from home. School lunches only cost 35 cents. Interestingly, my wife grew up in California and she said many kids brought their lunch from home at her schools.

    One reason so many kids have to travel so far to school today is government social engineering. In my day, most kids went to neighborhood schools. In rural areas, of course, there were buses, but in some states 14-year-olds on farms could drive themselves to school. And I don’t remember anyone ever having a problem with that.

    Cities today are carved up like a pie to make sure all schools are integrated. Some kids have to ride a bus a long way to get to their schools out in the suburbs. But this does not cause kids to befriend kids with whom they have almost nothing in common. Kids usually make friends with those of similar backgrounds, interests, and abilities–not always, but usually.