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On Students Driving to School.....

You may agree, or may be opposed, but we are all glad to have the opportunity to express our views.

It seems as if I have been rather taken to task about some comments I made on a thread regarding the unfortunate death of a pedestrian who was hit by a car driven by a 17 year old going to school the other day in Congers.

While no doubt this death did not need to occur, some in the Patch community have taken it upon themselves to denigrate my comments regarding whether or not a 17 year old should be driving a car to school. 

As a am a blogger here, I would like to post reasoning for NOT necessarily having a driver of this sort on the road.

First, there is busing for many students in most all of the school districts in Rockland (save Pearl River).  The taxpayers of the school districts, whether in homes with students or without students, are paying for the buses to come and get the students from near their homes to the schools and back safely each and every day.  This service is part of the fabric of having schools outside of regular walking distance.  Since the accident occurred in Congers and the High School is across the causeway in New City, there is a distance that indeed requires the bus to be taken.  It doesn’t necessitate the use of a private car. 

Second, the use of the private car has many other disadvantages.  The use of the car adds to pollution in our neighborhoods, adds to the wear and tear of the public roads being driven on, and also creates a need for additional parking spaces to be made and maintained at the school.  Do the students pay for the privilege of parking in the lots?  They do not.  Again, the taxpayers are made to foot the bill on all of the extra maintained land.  This additional cost is borne upon a taxpayer base that is at their limit regarding the amount of money they are willing and able to pay in school taxes.

Third, there is a loss of socialization when everyone is in their own vehicles doing their own thing.  This is no different than when I go out to family restaurants and see two children playing games on two different handheld devices while their parents are texting and accessing the internet on their cell phones.  Perhaps an over exaggeration, but no doubt this type of ‘by myself’ behavior has been witnessed by many, more so in our current times. 

Here is what I would propose to be a fair use of private vehicles in our public schools.  The only time that a student's car should be brought on campus is when there is a COMPELLING reason for its use directly after school.  This would have to be in a properly documented notification by an employer that the student needs to be at their after school job as the job has immutable hours.  As well, if there are COMPELLING circumstances for one time or occasional use, then the student would need to bring in such evidence to the school authorities. 

Driving a car is a huge responsibility, and not always is there a need when it is merely a want. We need to rethink our ways on this issue and see that the safety of the students (and others) is first and foremost.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Scott Walters March 02, 2012 at 03:19 PM
We don't know if the accident in ther parking lot was due to some organic issue, inattentive driving or something avoidable...but we do know that the accident in COngers was avoidable if the student were on a bus. Just as the Pearl River incident a few years ago, theone claiming the lives of theose Suffern High Schol students last year (I Believe), if those students had taken the bus, they would still be here today. I am just advocating that there may be a more prudent, less "entitiled' way of doing things. As I mentioned in the other thread, I didnot get a driver's license until after high school since i didn't NNED it. I was able to go about my business in crerative ways and get to where I needed to go without any true hardship. Sure, I had to wait for buses, had to walk or ride my bicycle or walk, or had to wait for a ride, but I did it without the entitlement of having a car, which is not a right. THis is simply what I am referring to with this horrible incident.
Scott Walters March 04, 2012 at 11:51 AM
I got this e-mail from this brave soul last night. I'm posting it since this was here for a long enough period of time to have been transmitted to my e-mail account: Jeff Meara commented on the blog post On Students Driving to School..... "You are one insensitive jerk. Someone that knows you, should point out how stupid your coments really sound. What a "monday morning quarterback". To say whenever something happens you could have done something else to avoid it is just plain stupid. Do you think buses never get in accidents? I guess you are perfect." Hey Jeff, thanks for being brave enough to have the post stick. I'm happy to respond. FIrst, I am married for over 15 years, so I have heard the term 'jerk' may times, so that doesn't bother me. No, I am not perfect (again ask my wife), but to claim that I am a Monday morning quarterback is actually spot on. of course, it is for a Monday night game. Let me explain. When I ran for the Nanuet School Board last year, I made a proposal that was indeed the crux of my initial blog post above. I would restrict the use of cars by students to be limited to only those with a COMPELLING REASON to have a car on campus. I puut it out there, but no one has seen the wisdom in it. With distracted driving becoming more prevelent, perhaps the time has come to recognize the fact that driving is not a right, and that there are deep responsibilities involved with the act of driving. Next time, be brave; keep the comment up!
Guy March 04, 2012 at 03:00 PM
Accidents will occur. Children need to be taught right.Driving is a privilige not a right. For many years I see the youth in the community driving and I see lots of mistakes.Add cell phones Ipods, etc to the mix. I Blame the Parents or guardians, I want my child to be cool, or look socially acceptable. "Here is a car son live for today" !!! Unfortunately someone was killed now we want to blame a great student & family. .Adults are just as bad if not worse. Seems to me that Clarkstown (a working family area) has become a pre 9/11 mentality,we have become too big for our bridges LOL). Let he who has not sinned throw the 1st stone. . I teach Time in my house, "Better to Arrive Late than dead on time"
annoyed March 05, 2012 at 11:50 AM
Those Suffern students were going to practice over break , THERE IS NO BUS OVER BREAK FROM YOUR HOUSE TO THE SCHOOL! Accidents happen, most young drivers are cautious.
Scott Walters March 05, 2012 at 12:06 PM
@annoyed....relax...I stand corrected on that incident, okay?

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