Are Buses Too Scary and Dangerous for Kids?

Yesterday, @jet_set alerted me to this story, in which a Maryland mom got into trouble for sending her daughter to fifth grade on a public bus.

Basically, when the mom discovered that there was a direct bus between the family’s home and the school she decided to give it a try. She and her daughter practiced the route several times and everything was going well. The little girl even made friends on the bus.

A Maryland mom got into trouble for sending her daughter to school on the bus even though buses like this one in Provo aren’t very scary or dangerous.

But then other parents at the girl’s school saw what was going on and complained. Child protective services was even alerted and will be looking into the incident.

Streetsblog also wrote about the incident, mentioning the dual facts of a childhood obesity epidemic and an abundance of driving, as well as the fact that the 10-year-old girl actually liked riding the bus. As it turns out, it isn’t scary after all:

Amazing how different this child’s experience is from the image of the public bus as scary and dangerous, a stereotype propagated by district parents and administrators.

The lessons here should be fairly obvious: public transit is a great way to get around; the public incorrectly sees driving as the “default” method of transportation; cities are actually great places for children because there are usually at least some good people around to keep an eye on them. Clearly, we need a fairly significant cultural shift to happen if people are getting in trouble for teaching their kids to be independent and environmentally friendly.

The entire thing reminds me of a past visit I made to New York, during which I saw a bunch of kids commuting to school on the subway. It was no big deal, apparently.

It’s also worth mentioning that all those helicopter parents who complained about the girl on the bus failed to remember that driving actually does have a negative impact on children via air pollution, too much inactivity, turing kids into dependent weaklings, etc. Why isn’t Child Protective Services investigating them?

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7 Comments

Filed under commuting, driving

7 responses to “Are Buses Too Scary and Dangerous for Kids?

  1. I find it ironic that driving your children is statistically far more dangerous than having them ride public transport, yet those parents aren’t investigated by CPS.

  2. This is ridiculous. Taking the bus is probably safer for most kids than walking to school (I was originally thinking for kids that live in inner-city neighborhoods, but probably more so for kids in suburbia). I took a bus and two trains to get to my 7th/8th grade school and so did a lot of other kids. It wasn’t a big deal and it shouldn’t be.

  3. Heather Anthony

    I walked to my suburban school growing up, but I knew a kid who took the public bus to school. He lived close enough to the school that he wasn’t on the school bus route, but far enough that walking was impractical. I thought it was weird back then, but what a perfect solution. I hope that savvy mom won’t be punished.

  4. laura

    How bizarre. Growing up in Escondido, CA the school district had gotten rid of the bus system, and everyone had to either walk, be dropped off by parents, or take a public bus. I was too far off the public bus route for it to really be an option, but there were lots of kids who used buses to get to/from school. And all the schools had public bus stops right in front of them. In fact here’s the route that stopped by my elementary school, middle school, and high school: http://www.gonctd.com/images/breeze_bus/350/350.pdf

  5. Pingback: Planning for Future Families | (pro(vo)cation)

  6. Hailey

    I live in Manhattan, and I’d say 90% of 6th graders and up commute by themselves. My 7th grader commutes by herself on a public bus, so yeah, i don’t get it.

  7. warero

    Reblogged this on Javmode.

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