Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Why kids are fat.

I was actually awake on time this morning, so after my shower I decided to go sit on the porch and eat breakfast. From my porch I can see to the end of my street, which also happens to be the back corner of my entire neighborhood - it's pretty much the opposite corner of the neighborhood from the front entrance.

I saw the school bus round the corner and start to drive down my street. At this point, the school bus was roughly 2/10ths of a mile away. The bus picked up a kid, then turned on the next corner.

As I ate, a group of about 5 kids came running from one of the streets that run perpendicular to my street. I laughed to myself a little, thinking they missed the bus, but then they all congregated on a driveway 4 houses away from mine. "Surely there aren't two bus stops on my 2/10ths of a mile street," I thought. But, there the kids waited. Since the bus had really loud brakes, I could hear it all over the place, and I was certain they could hear it too, so they would've known they missed the bus.

Then, a girl walked out and waited at the end of her driveway, 2 houses down from where the other group of kids was standing. I figured she just didn't want to wait near the other kids, which seemed pretty logical since she was 14-ish and these kids were probably no more than 8. I thought once the bus came, she'd walk her too-cool self a few hundred feet and get on the bus with the other kids.

I was wrong. As I finished off my cereal, I watched as the bus rounded the corner, picked up the girl, then drove 2 houses down to pick up the group of kids.

What. The. Hell.

Back in my day *bones creaking* I had to walk about half a mile to my bus stop. My bus stop was the elementary school, and all the kids within a half-mile of the school had to walk there. Hoosiers are not well known for their fitness, don't get me wrong - we are a largely German people and we truly enjoy our sausage and beer. Have things really changed so much in the 15 or so years since I rode the bus? Or was I the exception to the rule that kids can't walk more than a few hundred feet to their bus stops?

Since I was so stunned by this, I went to that back corner and drove to the front of my neighborhood - it was exactly half a mile. You're telling me that kids can't walk half a mile in a very safe, thoroughfare-free neighborhood to get to the bus stop?

There should be, at most, 2 bus stops in my neighborhood. One at the front entrance, one at the back corner. At most. It makes nary a lick of sense to have one stop every 300 feet, wasting a ton of gas (hello, fleecing taxpayers!!) and a ton of time. These kids could probably sleep an extra half hour if they didn't have to wait for the bus to pick up nearly every individual kid in the neighborhood.

Am I wrong here?


Jo said...

I don't think you're wrong! I agree that kids should be able to walk to a bus stop. When Blake was in kindergarten his bus stop was a few blocks away and he walked there and back every day (not by his little self though).

When I was teaching preschool and going on home visits I'd get to a home around 8:00 AM and the kids would be sitting on the couch watching TV and eating "breakfast" which consisted of a bag of chips and a bottle of soda! UH... HELLO???? And the agency I worked for didn't allow me to say anything to the parents. (one of MANY sore spots that went along with THAT job).

Mayhaps you should call the superintendent?? Put the "saving money" factor out there along with the "concern for the health of our children" and see what happens. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, ya know :)

HEATHER said...

Don't forget the wear and tear on the brakes. On those big buses they are super expensive.

Watercolor said...

Most parents drive their kids to school so they don't even have to walk to the end of their driveway to catch the bus......... because buses are more dangerous than moms in carpool on the phone driving their giant suv buses.... ha.

And the ones that do let their kids ride the bus WILL throw a screaming meenie fit if their kid gets out of sight of their house to wait for the bus. THINK OF ALL THE KIDNAPPERS!!!!! crazy.

Katy said...

The only year I rode the bus, it dropped me off at my house, but i went to private school so that's a little different.

When i lived in ARkansas, all the kids were picked up at the front entrance to the neighborhood and that was the only stop for our neighborhood.

i'm black betty said...

i remember hiking to get to my bus stop, but my grandmother also accompanied me. i would think some parents worry about the risk of someone snatching their kid while they are walking? or maybe, like you said, they are just lazy.

kids are also fat because of video games, televisions, and computers. they need to go outside and PLAY!!! and the parents needs to go with them...but that's just my opinion...and everybody's got one. ;)

good post.

Jen said...

My bus stopped at the end of my driveway BUT that was because I lived on a very VERY busy road (flowood drive) and it was too dangerous for us to walk the street. HOWEVER, in subdivisions, we always picked up GROUPS of kids and did NOT stop at every driveway.

So, yes, I do agree with you and with Black Betty...there are a lot of reasons kids are FAT. This is just one.

Kayra said...

I agree with you. Why can't all the kids wait together, specially if they are only 2 houses away?

Margaret said...

I had to walk about 3 blocks to get to my bus stop. When I was teaching I dreaded getting behind a bus because they stopped at every freaking driveway! It's ridiculous.

Jenni said...

IMO, yes and no. Yes, I can agree walking a bit to a bus stop should not be a big deal for children that age. However, I do not think this is a sign of laziness and therefore the reason children are getting more obese. My son was a "normal" size when he entered school the first time. However, access to the drink machines and the crap lunches they serve put the pounds on and started some very bad habits we still struggle with years later. Poverty contributes to obesity as well, IMO. Those who can qualify for food stamps may be ok, but for the working poor, fast food is often way cheaper on a paycheck to paycheck style life.

In addition, I used to live in S. Jackson and over at Lee Elementary they had some students way too young to walk home doing so. Tiny 5-year olds, I literally sat and watched one make it to his door one day because I just felt it wrong for him to be on his own that little. It's not the fifties anymore. Exercise is important and so is safety, surely common sense can find a middle ground?

On another note, great blog- really enjoying reading you!

RhondaLue said...

you are not wrong! All those friggin fumes from the bus stopping and going piss me off too! (i have a respiratory kid so it's my perrogative to get in a tizzy over this)

When I went to school they only ran busses for kids that lived a mile or more away from the school. Since we lived one house away from the mile mark I had to walk. No, they wouldn't let me walk PAST that house to the first bus stop, I had to walk to school.

So I was skinny. I'm only fat NOW.

i'm black betty said... where the crap you at, guuurl????