The Lost Art of Walking to School

Traffic jams outside schools back as academic year commences - The Hindu

I always walked to school, except in bad weather when I was in high school, two miles away. In fact, everybody I knew walked to school.

We have a school around the block. I suspect they have a rule against kids walking. Every day at dismissal time, an uncountable multitude of cars descends on the neighborhood, parents picking up their kids so they won’t have to walk a few blocks home. The congestion is indescribable.

What? Are they worried there’s some kind of predator lurking behind every bush? (Well, gee, then, they shouldn’t’ve voted for Democrats, should they?) Are they worried that 200 yards on the sidewalk will make their children lame? Or do they just have pantophobia–“fear of everything”?

So almost no one walks. School busing is colossal big business around here. We lived a mile from the middle school, and I enjoyed walking home with my friends. Sometimes I’d ride my bike.

Well, if we want to raise up a generation whose acute, overriding concern is to be “safe” at all times, who never go outside if they can help it, sit around texting and playing video games for hours on end–if that’s what we’re trying to do, we’re succeeding.

4 comments on “The Lost Art of Walking to School

  1. Oh, I remember very well all the years of walking everywhere. We were about 10 or 12 blocks from school and from town square, and I walked to both every day, when downtown, carrying large bags of groceries, and when to and from school, books and other stuff. When I was about a block from home, my cat would meet me and jump on my shoulder and ride the rest of the way. Most other kids did the walk most of the time, too except for a few bike riders. It was just the way it was, and I thought nothing about it.

  2. We used to walk all the time, too — at least in grade school and junior high. In high school, I lived in the Bronx and went to school in Manhattan, so it would have been impossible to walk. Most of us took the subway or bus. We also thought nothing of walking 6 or 7 blocks each way to shopping, and even when taking the subway to work, less then 3 blocks away from the nearest station was considered “right near” it.

    Don’t think too badly of some of those parents in cars, though. In many places, parents get in trouble for letting their children walk to and from school alone.

  3. I loved walking to school. Today as I left one of our middle schools where I subbed the traffic was terrific trying to get out of the parking lot. I saw no students walking on the sidewalks as I finally made it to the street.

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