The first day of school is always exciting, even if the older boys are getting to that age where they would rather stay home and play on the Wii and 3DS all day long. This year started off (August 28) quite different, though.
First, this is the first time I have sent my kids to school without meeting their teachers first. They don't have a parent night until September 13th. I would feel more comfortable with meeting the teachers first, but oh well. I did get to meet Hyrum's kindergarten teacher though because she needed to test him on what he already knows. They need to benchmark at 28 and he scored a 52......THANK YOU HEADSTART!
Mrs. Cloward was young but honestly, I like them like that. It is not always the case, but every time my boys have had a freshly out of college teacher, they have always been so good about being super excited about teaching. I don't know if it is because their minds are still fresh with all that knowledge that they gained from college or if they just haven't been at it long enough to get bored :) but I sure do like those fresh college grads...
Second, our buses were taken away from us. I want to say, first, that I am not one of those people screaming that we, as Americans, have a right to this and that. This includes a school bus. I know and realize that a school bus is a privilege not a right. And I also know that our economy and government debt is a serious problem. So naturally I could see how buses just might have to be cut. And honestly, it doesn't really affect me because I am a stay at home Mom who can take and pick up my kids everyday, however....
I live in an apartment complex with a lot of single parents or homes where both parents are working. Up until August 28th, the bus was the only way that the children of those parents could get to school. In the Jordan school district, you have to be 1.5 miles or more from school in order to get a bus to come to you. Technically we are 1.4 miles because of a new road that was put in last year. However, there are no sidewalks on that road so we have to take the main road which makes it 1.7 miles. There are so many problems with this. First, we have kids as young as 5 years old walking this route. Second, the first crossing that we come to didn't have a crosswalk or a crossing guard. Mind you, this is a 5 lane (with the turning lane) very busy road. There is NO WAY I would let my 5 year old walk that alone....heck, I wouldn't let my 9 year old walk it! Third, if you have a Kindergartner and an older child going to the same school, technically you are walking that 1.7 miles 6 times a day since the kindergartner is only at school for 2 and half hours. Now, add an asthmatic to that mix....NOT COOL! Again, this isn't an issue for me. I am so very blessed to stay home and have a reliable vehicle to get me to and from anywhere but what about all those single and/or working parents?
I know that so many can say that "in their day" they had to walk much further. I understand that. But you know what? We don't live in that day anymore. Child molesters and kidnappers are so much more common today. Just last year, about six or so blocks away from us, a middle school girl was walking home from school. A man tried to abduct her but because she screamed, other children came running to her aid. The man wasn't caught but my point is, if someone would do this is broad day light, what makes us think that our elementary school kids are safe walking alone?
So, a bunch of parents from our apartment complex decided to get together a car pool. Naturally, there are more kids that need rides than we have drivers. We are still trying to work that out. So, our first real objective was to get a cross walk and crossing guard at that first intersection. One of the Moms here caused such a stink (getting on the news and repeatedly getting a hold of the school, school board members, and Mayor) that late, August 27th, they finally painted a cross walk! Progress! So, even though I can drive I went with a bunch of the parents to walk this route. The reason for this is that the Mayor was going to show up at that first intersection to see what needed to be done. He ended up walking with us the whole way, as well as our apartment manager (who had no kids of her own walking this route, mind you) and a guy running for the school board. I am so very impressed with all that have supported us.
Riverton City Mayor with the boys on their first day of school.
As for ever making that walk again....I don't think so! All I heard from Hyrum was, "I'm tired" "My feet hurt" "I'm thirsty" "Can you carry me?" "I'm hot" "This is soooooo long!"
Well, we finally got a crossing guard and I take extra kids with me everyday. Honestly, it felt really great being a part of something that I had to fight for. My children play with those kids who are walking this route alone. It would break our hearts if something ever happened to them walking to school.