Four Wheels Good, Two Wheels Bad!

Irksome

Seventh grader Adam Marino, of Saratoga Springs New York, is getting an early education in law and citizenship courtesy of the New York State Police and his school district.  His offense?  Riding a bicycle to school.

At the start of school in September, Kaddo Marino thought that she had a nonverbal agreement with school officials to allow her son to ride his bike until a new policy was resolved. But on the night before classes started, school authorities called parents to say that walking and biking to school would not be tolerated.

When the pair stuck with their plan, they were met by school administrators and a state trooper, who emphasized that biking was prohibited, Kaddo Marino said.

Although no bicycle accidents have been reported in the past three years along Saratoga Springs Route 9, it appears to be a busy street without bike lanes.  And so Adam Marino will have to walk to school.  Except that he can't do that either.  Walking to Maple Avenue Middle School is also prohibited.

Though Adam's parents are willing to accept the risk that their son will suffer injury on a road where, apparently, bicyclists are never injured, the Saratoga Springs board of education knows better.  Bicycles are dangerous!  Why, every day, somewhere, a boy is injured riding his bike.  Just as every day, somewhere, a boy is hit by lightning, attacked by a shark, or suffers health problems because of obesity.  Will Saratoga Springs protect its children from obesity?

Why yes it will.  New York Schools are so concerned about the threat that fat and overweight pose to children that Saratoga Springs classifies and marks its students through "weight status grouping" and mandatory body-mass indexing. And like every other school in the state, Maple Avenue mandates physical education and health education, though that doesn't seem to help most New York school kids, who are incorrigible fatties.

Despite the threat that his bicycle poses, to him and to society, it appears that Adam Marino is going to defy school board mandates and continue propelling himself to school rather than taking a bus.  No price is too great to pay for health.  And no price is too great to pay if it lets good citizens like the Marinos tell mindless bureaucrats like Maple Avenue Middle School Principal Stuart Byrne, to butt out of things that shouldn't concern them.  Like whether a kid walks or rides his bike to school.

But Saratoga Springs isn't all bad.  The schools do make some effort to educate their kids in good character, and recognize students who excel in their behavior.  You can even nominate an outstanding student.  Perhaps Adam Marino deserves a nomination.

While Adam probably wouldn't qualify during "Respect Month," as his school calls October, he'd be a fine candidate for a character award this May, which is "Citizenship Month."  I can think of no better act of citizenship for a young man than civil disobedience against a foolish and intrusive nanny-state.

Last 5 posts by Patrick Non-White

8 Comments

7 Comments

  1. DevilDan  •  Oct 2, 2009 @9:01 am

    I'd be willing to fax that form in to them with this boy's name on it.

  2. Scott Jacobs  •  Oct 2, 2009 @9:13 am

    While Adam probably wouldn’t qualify during “Respect Month,” as his school calls October

    I disagree. The boy respects his rights and himself. That's way better than respecting people who go out of their way to prove that they do not deserve to be respected.

  3. Ken Chan  •  Oct 2, 2009 @9:30 am

    Nutty in too many ways. You wouldn't have to worry about obesity and BMI if kids were allowed to walk or bike to school. When I was a kid, we walked to school…and we liked it.

  4. Base of the Pillar  •  Oct 2, 2009 @10:33 am

    To make matters worse, his mom even bikes with him.

    Perhaps this is all a way to begin driving the pre-teen wedge between mother and son.

  5. Reed  •  Oct 2, 2009 @11:59 am

    It astonishes me that the school even asserts it has the right to dictate how students arrive at school.

    On second thought, maybe I shouldn't be astonished. Unfortunately.

  6. Old Geezer  •  Oct 2, 2009 @2:07 pm

    I don't know how it is in New York, but in California the courts have ruled that the School District is responsible for the welfare of the child from the time he leaves home until the time he returns home. That no one has died yet by being hit by a car on that particular road does not change the fact that the school officials (and apparently law enforcement) don't want to be around to watch the record broken. The cites for the article do not state whether there was any serious discussion between the parties as to total assumption of risk by the parent(s). There is only the reference to a "nonverbal agreement." So we must assume there were hand gestures and vigorous nodding of heads without a word being uttered.

    Perhaps mom has stepped over the line separating standing up for her son's rights and outright anarchy. No matter how many big asshats I have had to deal with in a long career of dealing with government employees, I have never run into an instance where, "I'm right; screw you" has solved a problem.

  7. Patrick  •  Oct 2, 2009 @2:32 pm

    Well I don't know anything about New York or California law Old Geezer, and I didn't bother to look it up. The important question here is not, "what do the statutes and regulations and common law of New York have to tell us about the administrative authority of school boards to regulate the transportation of students to their assigned schools?"

    It's "what the hell is wrong with this country when the government tells a kid he can't ride his bike to school?" If it was my kid, I wouldn't be very accommodating or solicitous of the feelings of the drones who enforce this policy. I'd probably just sue.

    As for California, don't tell me about grapefruit law. The inmates run the asylum in California.

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