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While We’re At It, Let’s Ban School: It’s Not Safe.

According to an article on accuweather.com, some cities and towns are starting to ban the time honored tradition of snow sledding.

The reason is simple: people are getting hurt when sledding.

According to a study from The Center for Injury Research and Policy (CIRP) at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, more than 20,000 Americans younger than age 19 receive treatment for sledding-related injuries each year.

Some cities in Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois and Indiana have banned sledding on steep hills in recent years. Other municipalities have posted warning signs cautioning people to sled at their own risk.

Midwestern states where some municipalities have sledding restrictions in place. (AccuWeather)

Dubuque, Iowa, is among the cities that have banned the pastime in previous years. In 2015, the city council voted to ban sledding in 48 of the city’s 50 public parks. Violators at the time would risk a fine of $750.

Des Moines, Iowa; Montville, New Jersey; Lincoln, Nebraska; and Columbia City, Indiana; all imposed sledding restrictions in recent years, according to The Kansas City Star. Lincoln, Nebraska, has since lifted the ban.

“Sledding is a time-honored tradition in cities that have hills (but) sledding is a risky activity,” the Dubuque city manager wrote in a letter in 2015, TODAY reported at the time.

The cities began taking action against sledding after some high-profile lawsuits involving sledding accidents were filed in recent years. Some have cost the cities millions of dollars in settlements, including cases against Omaha, Nebraska, and Sioux City, Iowa, TODAY reported.

We don’t want to make this a post about “when we were growing up, we walked 10 miles to school in a blizzard, up hill, both ways.” This is not about how tough a child can be.

This is about what we teach kids.

We grew up on a street that had a decent length hill. After every snow, we would shovel the sidewalks of the neighborhood, (especially those of the elderly who couldn’t shovel theirs or who needed a good neighbored helping hand.) Once the neighborhood was done, it was on. The sleds appeared like ghosts from the mists.

We hopped on those things and tore down the hill like Olympic downhill skiers.

It was almost a right of passage. You’d learn to sled with your parent or older sibling steering. You could either sit on the sled or they would lay down on it and you would lay on top of them.

To this day, we remember the sound of the runners on the snow and ice. The rush of the cold air in your face. Getting to the bottom of the hill and wanting to go again.

Then the day would come when you drove alone. In our case, our dad gave the sage advice of “don’t hit any parked cars!” as we stood at the top of the hill.

People would ride three and four to the sled – sometimes sitting and sometimes lying on top of each other. The peels of laughter could be heard all over the hill because the center of gravity would be too high and you just couldn’t make this one slight bend in the road and suddenly you were rolling off the sled.

(The first time you went down the hill with a member of the opposite sex upon whom you had a crush was a special memory as well.)

Parents would come out and watch and just to talk the parents of other kids. Hot chocolate was always available, and we seem to remember some other adult beverages being sipped upon by the adults.

We can remember parents standing at the bottom on the hill with a flashlight. There was a cross street that cars would travel upon and sleds would go through the intersection and up the other side of the street. Parents would stop cars as a cry went up the hill not to come down because there was a car coming. We learned from our parents because in the daytime, when the parents were at work, we kids would station someone at the intersection to stop traffic and sleds as well.

Sledding during the day was fun. Sledding at night with the street lit only by the street lights was magical.

Eventually and all too soon, the snow on the streets would melt, and people would head to a park that we needed to drive to. The park’s hill was longer, but not as steep. At the bottom, you’d ether have to bail off the sled, or make a turn that ran along a creek. Failing to make that turn took you into the trees or the water. (Or so it was claimed because the kids never got to that point. We knew the risks and how to adapt and avoid them.)

In our minds, we learned to be safe and not expect the government to protect us at every turn. We learned to evaluate risks and were safer because of it.

The article says that there are 0ver 20,000 kids that get injured each year sledding.

A quick check of the math shows if we as a society are worried about sledding, we should stop all dangerous activities such as going to school.

Last year, there were 73 million kids in this country between the ages of 5 and 17, the same ages that towns are trying to “protect.”

Schools have an injury rate of 1385 injuries per 100,000 kids.

Using that rate, there are 1,011,050 injuries that occur in schools each year.

The math is clear: let’s ban schools. Kids aren’t safe there.

(And yes, we can make the case that schools should banned because of indoctrination, what is being taught, etc., not to mention the violence in some schools. We are talking about injuries and using the same “logic” as those who think banning sledding makes kids safer.)

One of our writers here once observed that one of the most important thing that a parent can teach their child is how to survive after the parent has passed away.

We agree.

Life itself is a contact sport and is often ripe with dangers. We don’t think people expecting the government to rid the world of dangers teaches kids anything.

There’s a difference between “thinking” you are safe because the government says you are, and learning how to be safe and evaluate risks.



2 Responses to “While We’re At It, Let’s Ban School: It’s Not Safe.”

  1. Percy says:

    These are all real life lessons kids need to learn about being responsible and making good decisions in life. Sometimes bad decisions can be painful and have consequences. I never had the good fortune of sledding (other than on a piece of cardboard down a snowy hill) but would like to think we learned some of these same life lessons falling off bicycles, skateboards, and surfboards in FL.

    I’m envious of those have such fond memories of sledding, sounds like great times and memories.

  2. Truthful says:

    There are great memories of sledding downhill, even those of falling off and rolling in the snow.
    With regard to attending school, not so much, due to many instances of being subject to substandard learning opportunities,lackluster teachers, and safety concerns.

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