Dear Friends in Ward 7:
The ability to walk to school is a fundamental right that should be enjoyed by all children on the Central Mountain.
However, by closing walkable community schools and building large big-box schools, the Public School Board has been on a path that leaves parents no option but to drive their kids to school.
This is not healthy for our students, and it is not healthy for our society.
Please read my thoughts on the importance of walking to school below.
Public School Trustee Candidate
Ward 7 Hamilton Central Mountain
Walkable Neighbourhood Schools Are The Heart of Safe, Vibrant Neighbourhoods!
When my husband and I purchased our house on the Hamilton Central Mountain, we specifically bought in a location that would allow our children a safe and easy walk to school.
With the upcoming elementary school closures across the Central Mountain, this same fate is now falling on many other students.
Busing Teaches Children To Be Commuters
Students that are forced to sit in a car or on a bus at a young age in order to get to school are much more likely to accept this behavior as normal as they get older.
By busing students to school, we are effectively teaching them to be commuters when they grow up.
There is concern everywhere about the growing rates of childhood obesity. Walking promotes both good physical health and good mental health.
Providing students the ability to walk to school is one of the most basic things we can do to promote the health of children.
Busing students to school creates inequality in two ways.
First, students that happen to be within walking distance to school benefit from the physical and mental aspects of walking. Students that are bussed do not.
Second, students that have parents who have the time and resources to drive them to school can participate in after school programming, have more time for homework and follow a normal school day schedule. Students that are bussed have to incorporate the time they spend doing nothing but sitting on a bus into their schedule.
The ability for students to walk to school is not currently taken seriously in the decision making process at the Public School Board.
Yes, funding and enrollment projections are important, but the geographic locations of schools that allow students to walk must be preferred over locations where students must be bussed.
This is especially important for existing established neighbourhoods where walking to a local community school is already the norm.
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