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LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Encouraging riders isn’t cheating
To the editor:
I feel a need to respond directly to the concerns of Marye and Ken Kieling. Your thoughts are well-said, and I want to respond in kind.
First, let me address the points of cheating, falsifying, bilking and most important, legality. Let’s start with legality and work our way back. Before launching our campaign to encourage bus riding, I checked with the district and the state’s Web site to be sure of our legitimate role.
According to the rules, as long as we did not pay riders with prizes, money or any other rider incentives, we could encourage bus ridership. We offered nothing more than information on how participation could benefit the school community. I believe falsifying and bilking would fall under the district lying about their data. That would not benefit anyone. I believe the district gives accurate data. That leaves cheating.
I agree with the two of you. I do not want to encourage my child to cheat. When she turned 6, I paid for her to get on the ferry and didn’t pretend she was still “free.” However, I do want to teach her how to be successful while complying with the various rules dictated by society.
In encouraging children from kindergarten to seniors to ride the bus during Bus Count Week, we succeeded in several ways as a community. We created the incentive for parents/kids to ride the bus who may have had concerns about riding the bus. If we were really successful, we took that many cars off the roads during the school commute, making transportation to school safer. Kids who may have been afraid of the new experience may have seen the benefit of riding with friends. If they keep riding, they will reduce the isolating effects of this island and broaden their community.
On your final point of coming up with a campaign, I invite you to join us in doing just that. I believe your thoughtful analysis would be beneficial to the school board, and more actively in SWEPTA. You can join South Whidbey Elementary PTA even if you do not have children in the system. The children of South Whidbey will benefit from your contributions. Join us, will you?