Ok so this is not related to my cycling across Canada, but I have to repost this as it struk a nerve with me. As a cyclist and an enthusiast I believe in the importance of encouraging people, especially youth; who tend to leade a sedentary lifestyle, to cycle more.
I read this article yesterday about students organizing a ride for the last day of school and getting punished for it. BOOO to Katharine Pennington, the principal from Kenowa Hills High School in Walker, Michigan. 2 thumbs down from the cycling community of the world!
Please note that I do not own the rights to the story, I am reposing this from the link below:
I believe the original credit goes to Richard Masoner from: http://www.cyclelicio.us
Who Knew Biking to School Could be Considered a Prank?
On the second to last day of school, 60 seniors from Kenowa Hills High School in Walker, Michigan, rode their bikes to school. It wasn’t an improvised things either, as they had police escort and did it safely, and even the mayor joined them (handing out donuts, which isn’t exactly health food, but nobody was forced to eat them). But their principal, out of some sort of “I’ll show you who’s boss” primal instinct, decided to reprimand them, calling the bike ride a “prank”, going as far as suspending them from a traditional year’s end celebration at that school.
But calling this a prank is taking the “letter of the law” too far and forgetting the spirit. This wasn’t burning dog poop, exploding toilet and naked kids running around. It was a safe bike ride with adult supervision, something that an untold number of kids do every single school day in many places around the world.
Schools Would be Empty in Amsterdam and Copenhagen…
Now it’s possible that this wasn’t done in the best possible way and that this slowed down traffic some (the school pretends it was terrible, the police escort says it wasn’t a problem — whatever), but it still was an act that should be commended, not punished. This could have been the beginning of a great tradition, and the next ride would have been even better organized, rather than a sour end to some kids’ high-school career.
I know I don’t have much pull in Walker, Michigan, but I’m calling for principal Katharine Pennington to come to her senses and apologize to the students for trying to discourage them from doing something that was safe, healthy, and much better than almost any other possible alternatives in that situation.