Helping kids walk and bike to school

To the editor:

Kudos to all the people involved in the Safe Routes to School project.

To put into perspective just how important the project is, a little background: In August 2011 in Elizabethton, Tenn., a woman was confronted by local police and threatened with a charge of child abuse. Her heinous crime? Permitting her 10-year-old daughter to ride her bike 1 mile to school. Nearer to home, in Saratoga Springs, the school board in 2009 expressly forbade any children to walk or bike to school. Children who lived across the street from their school were ordered to board a school bus to cross the street. (The board later grudgingly allowed children to bike to school if an adult biked with them.) Sad to say, these are not isolated incidents of overzealous parents hovering over their kids, but instead is part of a nationwide trend. (Source: Bicycling magazine 2012)

In the face of this idiocy, our village has had the audacity to act with common sense and made it easier, instead of harder, for children to exercise a little independence, along with their bodies, and get themselves to school in a healthy way.

At a time when so many adults complain that children are sedentary, lazy and irresponsible, apparently these same adults are making it impossible for children to get some healthy exercise while showing a little independence and responsibility.

Most people probably barely noticed the story on the front page of Wednesday’s Enterprise, but it’s a bigger story than most realize. It says something important about our village, and about how we refuse to treat our children like helpless idiots when it comes to the mundane task of getting themselves to school. Be proud, Saranac Lake – we’re bucking a national trend, as well we should be. Hopefully other towns around the country will take note of our example and stand up to this nonsensical trend.

Karl Zaunbrecher

Saranac Lake