It seems there are so many opinions being voiced right now about what people used to do, particularly surrounding going to school. They used to walk a half mile to elementary school, used to walk over a mile to junior high, etc. No bus option. I walked too, in what was considered a safe town and a safe neighborhood. I look back, grimace, think times have changed, and ponder how people do not see the changes.
I used to walk to my elementary school, with a large group of kids. In Douglas County, we now have year-round elementary schools which means the number of kids walking home on any given day has shrunk. Occasionally, I used to walk home alone from athletics in elementary school. Two of those times I saw things I should not have seen at that age. I never told my parents—thus, a girl walking home alone was considered perfectly safe.
I walked to and from junior high school—1.25 miles—sometimes on a bike path, always listening to my walkman. A few years after that, under a bridge along the same bike path, a woman was raped. Thankfully I was driving by then.
I have other stories which delve into my college life and beyond—they clarify how society has changed. I know there is a registered sexual offender within the vicinity of my first grade daughter’s school. I know when she walks to school she takes a bike path often crossed by a coyote. I know the things I saw as an elementary school girl. I know how oblivious I was walking a bike path as a teenager. I know the results could have been different for me, and that many times I was very lucky.
I want my daughter to be able to get safely home, to not see what I saw, to not have to encounter the scary situations that lurk in many places. I walked home in a different time when there wasn’t much busing. I would like to think society would realize the value of busing, that times have changed, and that parents want their kids to get home as safely as possible.