Sunday, September 6, 2009

Times have changed

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.

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