I'm tired of hearing the nonchalant opinions of adults regarding the new changes that require Atlanta Public School elementary students to who live a mile or less away from their school to walk there.
"It's just a mile," they say. "I walked 3 miles to school," they brag. "It's no big deal," they insist. They're wrong. It's scary being a child in today's society. How do I know? Because it's scary being 21 in today's society. Although I was already pretty empathetic about the situation, I decided to talk to the people most affected by the change - Atlanta's elementary school children.
I spoke with two students, a boy and a girl (had to hear both sides) about how they would feel about walking from home to school, alone.
"That's dangerous. Strangers are everywhere," the girl said. "Too many bad people and scary houses. I like to ride the yellow bus with my friends!" the boy said. Typical, expected responses, right? So why do people keep insisting it's "no big deal."
Just 5,280 steps of uncertainty.
In a perfect world, the parents and guardians of these children would walk with their kids or drive them to school every day. But what about the parents who are already at work, are not physically able to walk, who don't own a car?
It's difficult to imagine the situations of others besides your own, but it's necessary for legislation.
It's unfortunate that kids can't walk a few hundred feet anywhere without apprehension. It's unfortunate that according to the U.S. Department of Justice, nearly 800,000 children are missing every year, 58,000 were abducted by non-family members. It's unfortunate.
Those are numbers too high to gamble with. I want Atlanta to spend our tax dollars on what matters, and to be proactive in avoiding terrible crimes that affect young children. They can't save themselves.
If the change is not reversed, I hope that the affected areas and people will come together, reach out to one another, and form a community so that 5 or 6 year old children are never walking alone in the city. It only takes a minute for a crime to happen.
The government is in place to create legislation, but we as citizens have the authority and the charge to challenge their poor decisions.
Why worry about cheating scandals or a lack of qualified teachers if the students cannot even arrive to their schools safely?