camcarlson

miscellaneous commentary

Cycling Craziness

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I’m not sure which is more ludicrous, a principal sending 60-some seniors home from school for riding their bicycles en masse on their final day of high school, or schools banning bicycling altogether.

The good news is, in the former case, the principal apologized:

(CNN) – Seniors at Kenowa Hills High School in western Michigan thought a mass bike ride to school was a sweet sendoff for the last day. Police escorted the ride and parents lined the route. The Walker, Michigan, mayor brought doughnuts.

But principal Katharine Pennington didn’t know. She said the ride was dangerous, tied up traffic and prevented staff from making it to school.

She sent more than 60 students home after the bike ride yesterday. Soon-to-be graduates were banned from participating in the senior walk – a traditional final walk through the school’s hallways – and some were told they wouldn’t be allowed to walk at graduation, a decision that was later reversed. Students told CNN today the senior walk was rescheduled, too.

Pennington released an apology on Wednesday, along with the superintendent, after parents and students flooded a school board work session with complaints.

The bad news is, in the latter case, there are still a lot of schools that don’t want to consider any alternative to the automobile:

“The attitude was ‘Broadway is great now—why change it?'” said Olson. “It’s hard for people who’ve grown up in the suburban lifestyle to imagine not driving your car every day. To school board members who live outside town, it’s totally alien—and they vote on things that make it impossible for others.”

Schoolwise, this might be referred to as the Maple Avenue Mind-Set: passive acceptance of a status quo that promotes not only pollution and disease but also the lesson that children (who grow up to be citizens—and parents) are helpless. Amid this grand civic failure, the chief cause for encouragement comes from individuals who refuse to give in: [those] who prioritize fresh air and exploration and exercise, the powers-that-be be damned.

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Written by camcarlson

May 29, 2012 at 1:50 PM

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