Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

June 9, 2014

WEEKLY WRAP: Reduce costs, encourage fitness

Reduce costs, encourage fitness

If this were the 1950s or earlier, this latest development in transporting kids to school would be regarded as a huge joke — walking.

This being the 20-teens, the revival of an idea that’s as old as school, indeed as old as feet, has been gussied up with fresh jargon — “the walking school bus.” The idea is that, under parental supervision, pupils within reasonable walking distance to their elementary school walk as a group, starting at the most distant house and picking up their classmates as they go along.

What we would like to point out is that Courier & Press columnist John Lucas, more than two years ago, put in a plug for the walking school bus, asking if it wasn’t time again to revise the old idea of walking to school, as a way of cutting school expenses. Also, it is a way of improving fitness.

Like many ideas that have the fatal disadvantage of being old ones, the walking school bus makes all kinds of sense. They are under the watchful eyes of adults they presumably already know — and just as importantly know their parents.

“Walking school buses” have been tried successfully in locations as diverse as Missouri, Iowa and Rhode Island.

A generation that seems fated to obesity — threatening our national defense, if you believe our military leaders — gets much-needed exercise.

The kids get time to make friends with classmates they might not otherwise see. And the walking school buses save the district on the cost of operating real school buses. By involving parents, it may even pull their neighborhoods closer together.

And what about bad weather?

The makers of outdoor gear have your kids covered — literally. The days of those bright yellow rubber raincoats that turned into mobile saunas in any temperature over 40 degrees are long gone. And so are the matching rain hats that looked like inverted buckets. And when was the last time you heard the word “galoshes?”

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