Thursday, July 28, 2011

It gets more weird every day

A Pennsylvania mommy is going to trial because she got on a school bus to see if her child was OK. Apparently it's against the law, at least in Pennsylvania, for an adult to get on a school bus. And although this particular incident seemed to have been resolved to everyone's satisfaction months ago, county attorney Charles F. Chenot III isn't going to let the matter disappear. As he says, if they do, sex offenders with kids on the bus will jump on and molest other students.

Naturally, the first thing that a normal person would think is that there needs to be a little of that increasingly uncommon, especially in educational circles, common sense used here. Maybe every parent shouldn't succumb to panic when they perceive a situation where their child could be in danger. And maybe the authorities could have the judgement to disregard an isolated incident where no actual harm has been done. But that misses the real point.

Through some tortuous logic, the state is legally responsible for the education of residents of a certain age. In exchange for this obligation the state and schools themselves make regulations regarding the conduct of the students and parents. Why? Why is the government involved in something like bussing children to school in the first place? Even if you can justify the behemoth US public education system, how is it possible to extend the justification for instruction to transport? At one point, there couldn't have been any bussing to schools because there were no buses. How did we arrive at the conjecture that hauling kids to school at government and ultimately the taxpayers' expense was part of the education package? Must have been before they turned the schools into subsidized restaurants.

I remember asking the bartender at a saloon in the hamlet of Interior, South Dakota where the school was. He replied that there was no school, the kids went to Wall, 32 miles up the road. I said that was a long bus ride every day. He said, "Yeah, it would be, but they drive theirselves."

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