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.