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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Driving Your Kids to School Makes Them Fat

Didn't you know? In other words, columnists continue to piss me off.

Seriously, what is this?

In this column, Andrew Clark asserts that school-drop-off zones are filled with angered, crazed, road-ragey selfish parents attempting to get little Johnny to school on time at the expense and injury of any who dare get in their way. Taunting them for driving to an out-of-reach school system when they could just do the local public and call it a day. He's joking, but not really. Not really at all.

Excuse me?

Because parents of school-aged children don't have it hard enough getting them to school now that bus-budgets are being cut. Now that school systems are so embroiled in No Child Left Behind that parents must scramble to enroll in magnet schools, or move to another district, or take other measures within their financial means to ensure their children get the best education possible. (the author is in Canada and speaking of a Canadian school system but blatantly crosses the line into the U.S. to call us all fat because of school drop-offs, so I figure I can rightly speak of my own country here). I'd venture to say the school system, nay, the governmental rules forcing the school system's hands is broken, not the parent.

He further states that parents are ridiculous for driving their child two-blocks to school. At first nod, you'd think, well, yeah, that's silly. But is it? Now that the rules about walking are being enforced. Rules that are there for good reason. Rules that are there because children have been abducted on their way to school.

He writes as if safety were an afterthought. It's not.

So, walk your child to school, Clark says. Oh, okay. Because working parents definitely have an extra half hour in the morning to devote to this. I'm a stay at home mom. Sometimes, I walk my kids to the bank a half mile down the road. Sometimes I drive. Because even I'm busy, and even I sometimes don't have time to walk. Let's not forget that walking with young kids is like trudging through three feet of mud with your eyes closed. They are that slow.

Get up earlier, he says. I don't have a mature response to this, it makes me too mad, so I'll just fall back on my old favorite: No, you! I mean, it's not just the parents here. We can get up at the crack of dawn. We could stay up from the night before, just to be ready to walk our kids to school. I can guarantee you, the children will find some way to dawdle, and that last backpack will be on at exactly ten minutes before school starts. It's magic, I swear.

I'm not touching the man Clark concentrated on; the one who hit two boys with his car in a fit of road rage. I'm appalled the writer would focus on this as if it's a normal occurrence, going so far as to mock the situation, saying, "in (his) defense, if he hadn't done all that his daughter might have been late for school. I repeat -- late -- for school. Late for school."

Okay, big guy, I highly doubt that incident had anything to do with the typical worry about kids being late for school. But you're hilarious, really.

But this is my favorite part right here: "In the United States, just 13 percent of kids walk or bike. As a result, many North American kids are so obese they look like they could play offensive line in the NFL."

No, totally. Our kids are all fat because they don't walk to school. True facts. What an odd and inflammatory conclusion to make. It couldn't be due to anything else at all. If they only walked to school, they'd all be slim as supermodels.

Okay, he actually won me over a bit with this next bit, not going to lie. I laughed.

"I see the school drop-off as a perversion of the automotive experience. Everyone knows that cars are for sex and racing (at a proper, legally sanctioned track). You don’t put children into the back seat of your car to take them to school. You put yourself into the back seat of your car to create children. We’re sending the wrong message to our young people."

But the joke doesn't excuse the other half-serious statements, half-jokes, and it doesn't excuse the blatant judgment of all parents driving their kids to school. As if they shouldn't. As if there were no good reason for doing so. Like, say, keeping the kids alive.


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1 comment:

  1. I skimmed the article. I'm wondering why a Canadian publication is focusing on what's happening in the U.S. Shouldn't it be commenting on what things are like for Canadians? I see the same scenes he's depicting at our Canadian schools. Oh, and we have fat people in Canada, too.

    The Globe and Mail is supposed to be one of our better papers. I don't understand why they hire people who write things that are better suited for a rant on a blog.



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