Our years in elementary school brings back memories for all of us. Vivid memories of the first day of school, holding our parent’s hand and wondering if the other kids will like us, or fretting about the correct answer to the homework that was assigned to us. Through it all, our parents were there to walk us to school and reassure us that everything would be alright. Well, now children may not get that opportunity, because the parents at one school in Magnolia have been banned from walking their kids to school, and if they disobey they will be charged.
School Bans Parents Walking Kids to School
Bear Branch Elementary School has placed a ban on walking children to school, forcing kids to either take the bus or have their parents wait in long drop-off lines regardless of how close they live to the school.
This strict initiative has been brought on by the school’s principal, Holly Ray, and many parents are voicing their concerns.
“She’s threatening to arrest people,” says Wendy Jarman about Ray.
Jarman, who lives behind the school and who has always walked her children to school has transferred her kids to a private school to avoid the new rule.
“This has happened to many parents,” Jarman says. “They have been cited, they have been threatened, if they set one foot on school property, they will be arrested and charged with who knows what.”
Frank Young, one of the parents of a child at Bear Branch Elementary who also lives close to the school has received one of these warnings and has since pulled his children out of the school.
According to him, no efforts to negotiate a better policy have been made despite hundreds of signatures on a petition from local parents.
“Mrs. Rays policy is implying that a parent doesn’t have the ability or capacity to decide what is safest for her children and that the school district does,” Young says. “I disagree.”
The school district has responded to the outrage of the parents by supporting Ray, claiming that the new system supports a safe dismissal process. Montgomery County Constables act as the enforcers in this case.
Young states that some parents are going along with the new rule in order to keep the peace, but, in his opinion, not speaking up creates a poisonous environment.
“The most toxic thing we can do for our kids is to not fight for truth and justice,” He says.
School Pick-Ups and Drop-Offs Is a Problem Worldwide
With hundreds of children rushing into a building at the same time, school pickup and drop off times are hectic for any school. There are many schools that are trying to cut down on the mayhem in order to keep everyone safe, but perhaps these schools are focusing on the wrong tactic.
Elementary schools in Canada and the UK have banned parents from driving their children to school in the hopes of battling child obesity, diminishing traffic congestion and motor vehicle injuries, and to help the environment.
While it appears that schools worldwide are struggling to gain control of a busy time of the day, Bear Branch Elementary is the first school to ban walking, an activity that would have a positive benefit for many children.
The Advantages of Walking to School
In today’s modern times, when many kids would rather be playing on their iPads than running outside, it can seem difficult to convince our children to take a walk. Walking your children to school each day brings a number of advantages, both for your child’s well-being and also for your relationship.
- More quality time with your kids
- Peace of mind knowing that your child made it to their desk safely
You Don’t Need to Remain Silent
The lengths that the parents of Bear Branch Elementary School took in order to fight the new ban were correct, and though they have not yet worked for these parents they could work for other schools. Each school board operates differently, and if you’re experiencing something similar to this and wish to fight it, utilizing some of the same methods may make a difference.
- Sign a petition – Though a petition has not yet worked in the case of this school, that doesn’t mean that every school board is the same. Circulate a petition among parents that share the same ideals as yourself and it may force the school board to listen. Remaining silent will only lead the school board to believe that the new policy is effective. By voicing your opinions you will be more likely to put a stop to policies that you don’t believe in.
- Write to the school board – In this case, the school board sided with the principal, but that may not be the case for every situation. Often times a principal will enforce a policy that is not supported by the school board. Voicing your opinion to the school board will ensure that the issue is being discussed at the highest level. A petition will help in this case to show the school board that there are many people that agree with you.
- Remove your kid from the school (last resort)- When these parents hit wall after wall of resistance despite their efforts, they chose to remove their children from the school. If you’re experiencing something similar in your child’s school, and have done everything that you can to try to remedy the situation to no avail, then perhaps it is time to find another place for your child to study. If you are as wholeheartedly against the way that the school is being run then perhaps it is not a proper fit for you and your kids.
Ultimately, the issue of safety during school pick up and drop off is very real across the globe and a solution needs to be found that can help everyone feel safe. That includes both parents and schools. Perhaps there is a better solution that has been overlooked. Voicing your opinion on how your child’s school is being run is important, and so is respecting the wishes of the school. It’s always a give and take that goes into creating a positive learning environment for your children.