Young Environmentalists Protest Anti-Bicycle Policy At Their High School
Here at Treehugger we've seen lots of examples of activism in high schools as part of our Go Green School of the Week Series (for instance, here, here and here). The following story about a group of high school students in New Jersey, however, truly stands out for the quality of their activism, as well as the intransigence and narrow-mindedness of the principal involved in the incident. The students are members of an environmental club at their high school that had raised $2,000 and wanted to use the funds to donate a bike rack to the school. However, they were told that the school did not want to promote cycling due to safety concerns, and thus the gift was rejected. Ironically enough, the rejection came on Earth Day.
Fortunately, these enterprising high schoolers didn't just sit on their heels. No, they came together and organized the following protest: "more than 50 students rode their bikes to school, commuting in pairs and groups. After studying up on state biking laws -- and carrying copies with them -- the students legally tethered their bikes in conspicuous clusters around lamp posts, trees and other poles dotting the circular drive in front of the school." The students also delivered a letter to the principal. So what was his response?Well, it wasn't very positive. In a letter he wrote "In as much as the district provides courtesy busing to students who live within walking distance of the high school, because of the danger on Garretson Road, it does (not) make sense, in my opinion, to promote the riding of bicycles to school." Really? So instead of encouraging youth to walk or bicycle, they should take the loud, dirty diesel buses that are provided for free (read that: subsidized by taxpayers)? Here's an idea: why not re-design the streets around the school to make them safer for pedestrians and cyclists (shouldn't the streets around a school be safe anyway?) and save the courtesy buses for those that live farther way from campus.
Oh, and maybe the school should re-consider its policy of providing a parking spot for every senior that drives, while not accepting a free bike rack that can cut down on the need for parking spaces.
See Also: ::Pedal for Positive Climate Change, ::High School Senior Fights Flawed Climate Science Info in Popular Textbook, ::High School Homework: Make an Electric Car, ::The TH Interview: Taylor Schmidt, Student at Greensburg High School, ::The Go Green School of the Week: KingWood Park High School in TX!, ::Decatur High School Principal Rides His Bike, ::High School Student on Reef-Building Mission to Change World, ::Lightning Without the Thunder: Utah Kid Schools the World on Clean Cars and ::Plug-in Hybrid School Buses Introduced