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What if Your School Banned Driving?

D. Sharon Pruitt via flickr

In an aggressive effort to get students to walk to school, a community elementary school in Toronto actually banned parents from dropping off their children in cars. Since the ban was put into place earlier this year, there is now 100 percent compliance. Even those kids who live far enough away to get bus services are joining with their friends and hoofing it to school.

This is a real contrast to other schools, namely this one on upstate New York that, until bad publicity changed things, actually banned walking and riding bikes to school. Safety and all that being the trigger for the restrictions.

I can’t help but condemn the latter and cheer on the former — it’s surprising how few kids actually walk to school anymore, even those who live in notoriously walkable neighborhoods (hey, this resident’s calling out her Brooklyn neighborhood).

Then I think about my own situation. My kids attend a public school, but not our neighborhood one. We live in a city with a generous school of choice policy, in an area of the country very much in love with its cars. In nearby LA, magnet and charter schools have cropped up to solve education problems, but they exacerbate the problem of driving to school.

Walking to school isn’t just about carbon emissions and exercise. It’s about actually living in your community and giving kids a chance to be self-reliant.

What would you do if your school banned car drop-offs? Park around the corner?

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Photo: D Sharon Pruitt via flickr

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