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Biking to school: USA-0, Netherlands-1

Kenowa Hills High School suspended seniors for riding their bikes to school.  Yes, you read that right.  As their senior “prank”, the seniors decided to ride their bikes to school, with a police escort.  When they got to school, the principal suspended them for disruptive behavior:

A good time was had by all, except for school Principal Katharine Pennington.  Apparently dismayed at not having been informed about the event, Pennington suspended the participants for the day, forbade them from participating in today’s senior walk — an annual tradition — and said they could potentially not walk during their graduation next week, Rachel Nicks, the mother of one of the participating students, told ABC News.

Nicks said she was aware of the biking plan and had given her 17-year-old honor student son, Cody, her full approval. Shortly before 8 a.m. Tuesday, he called her to say he’d been suspended.

“And I said ‘What did you do?’ And he said, ‘I didn’t do anything. They’re suspending me for riding the bikes. We’re all being suspended,’” Nicks told ABCNews.com

She was outraged, as were many other parents who showed up at a scheduled school board meeting Tuesday night.

“The disruption to the classroom, the disruption to the school day, was not these kids,” Keri Whip, a parent of one of the bike riding participants, told the board. “It was the principal.”

 It could be worse.  In my neighborhood, residents have a habit of calling police if teenagers walking through the deadly quiet developments make too much noise.  You know, talking, laughing to each other?  The principal sends home emails to parents warning them to get their children off the streets before they get their asses hauled off to jail for, I don’t know, being human.  {{rolling eyes}}  It’s all a matter of control.  Too many people feel they need to control the behavior of others even when it’s not their jurisdiction.  If the principal wants to make and enforce rules on campus, that’s one thing.  But once those kids leave school grounds, she’s not allowed to dictate their mode of transportation or the amount of noise they make when they’re walking safely as a group home and socializing.  And giving in to hypervigilant residents who complain about a teenager’s right to talk while walking on a public sidewalk is exceeding her authority.  People need to chill.  This is not a Clockwork Orange kind of suburb.

So, how do kids get to school in the rest of the world?  Let’s forget about the third world where sometimes they zip line over steep chasms or walk miles for water.  How do they do it in places like the Netherlands?

Check it out:

Holy smokes!  They even *talk* to each other while pedaling.  There is no bike nanny standing by making sure they ride single file with a regulation length of space between them and the next rider.  It’s sick, I tell you.  The Netherlands is full of danger and a child sexual molestation just waiting to happen.

Do you have any idea how much money school districts across the country spend on busing their kids to school?  It’s shocking.  We should be encouraging our communities to build bike paths so kids can ride to school.  But nooooo, not this country, where parents wait at the bus stops with their 12 year olds until the bus comes and gets them.  Predators, you know.  Or they might wake the neighbors with their talking.

13 Responses

  1. I’m tempted to call the School Board about this myself. NOT that it’s directly my business but, the school is (I presume) supposed to be educating young people in preparation for the future. And while those kids seem more than ready to face the future with optimism and creativity, that Principal seems to have mistake her mission in every way.

    • You’ll be very busy. Schools all across the country are like this. Last year, there was crowd surfing in the hallways at Brooke’s school. The principal instituted a strict crackdown. Anyone who even thought about doing something fun would be automatically suspended and graduation privileges revoked.
      I didn’t even post about the school that suspended something like 67 students for decorating the school with 10,000 post-it notes. The 5 kids who did the dirty deed had permission from a school board member and were supervised by a school custodian. When the principal found the notes, which were colorful and non-offensive, she suspended the 5 and FIRED the custodian. So, 60+ students protested and *they* were suspended as well.

    • That principal clearly sees her mission as “obedience training” and
      “shared-freedom suppression”. If the parents and students can get that principal fired and replaced with a pro-freedom principal, then the parents and students win. If the principal remains in her job, then the parents and students lose . . . and so does every parent and student who goes to that school for years into the future.

      The one good thing is that some of those students and their parents may get radicalized by all this and realize that one side can only win by crushing the other side so comprehensively that the other side stays crushed.

  2. This is jaw dropping! I can just picture the kids asking “but why?” and the principal saying “because I said so!” No good reason whatsoever. Was she pissed at missing out on a photo op? Mad she didn’t think of it first? I just can’t even fathom her reasons.

    • The more I experience public schools in the past 16 years, the more I’m convinced that it’s a control issue. Both educators and parents see their ability to change society and maintaining their quality of life slipping away so they take control of the only thing they have power to direct- the kids.
      You have no idea until you’ve seen what modern schools are like these days. Every door is locked electronically and the building is monitored by surveillance cameras. You can’t participate in after school activities without agreeing to drug testing. And if you want to attend an after school event, you need to present a valid school ID at the door or the kid selling tickets who you see everyday in your calculus class isn’t allowed to let you in. It’s ridiculous and over the top. The whole purpose is to control every action of these children until they graduate. No pranks, no practical jokes, no humor, no talking above a certain decibel level, lunch must be eaten in 15 minutes, every breath is metered.
      It’s disgraceful. If we aren’t killing their spirit, we’re raising a new generation of Nazis.

      • I put a very tall, large, left-handed, funny boy with an IQ in the 150 range through public schools. Worst experience of my life. The stories I can tell about teachers and administrators are unbelievable. Teacher/administrator bullies aren’t new. I sent letters everywhere numerous times and realized they also aren’t going away anytime soon.

      • How much of this is due to ambulance chasers going after school district treasuries for negligence?

        • Probably some of it is fear of suits but having worked with the administration of my district when I was on BoE, I think a lot of it is just the result of having power.

    • Well its obvious what is going on here. We are an oil driven society, if more kids ride bikes, rather than drive gass-guzzlers they might think they don’t need that expensive gass hog. We CAN’T let that happen, the MASTERS need your gass money for their new yacht, or midsummer villa……

  3. After 60 years of dealing with schools on a nearly constant basis, I can assure you that the cited behavior is exactly what it appears to be– a power trip.

  4. Look at how -in shape- those kid are! Nary an overweight one among ’em, not even a suspicion of obesity. And they’re laying down a foundation of coordination, muscle and bone development at a time when it does them the most good for the rest of their lives.

    I too hate seeing the parents, always female, waiting in droves in their SUV’s at the bus stops – so much waste of woman power and kid power, so much unnecessary pollution.

    Of course Holland is a famously flat country, but so is our Midwest. And some places with very high hills, like Anchorage, Ak, have done bike paths right, so that the average person thinks nothing of ten mile round trip dashes for ice cream, or thirty mile fun runs on the weekend: the paths are routed along greenways where possible and over or under traffic crossings, so none of that stopping every mile or so that makes one more disincentive.

    Keep up the excellent coverage, RD. Who knows, enough momentum and things just might change.

  5. That principal needs to have a good bowel movement.

    • Well if that’s all she needs, maybe a few bowls of Crunchy Granola with oat bran and prunes would solve the problem.

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