By Mayara Sanches
Grand Ledge Gazette Reporter
GRAND LEDGE — Parents in Grand Ledge offered rides on Facebook on Jan. 28 to other children so they do not have to walk or wait for the bus in the severe cold.
The Grand Ledge Community Facebook page includes 2,364 residents of the city, where they post from events, council decisions and personal questions. The parents were not available for interviews, but school officials said the posts offering rides were good deeds and that it helped students.
“If the kid is anxious walking to school or thinking about the long walk home, it’ll be difficult to concentrate on what they’re supposed to be learning,” said Stacy Gatz, the psychologist at Willow Ridge Elementary.
Gatz said she has felt the pain from the cold on her fingers when driving on days that the school is open. She then added, that if she is cold in her car when temperatures are extremely cold, the kids cannot stay outside waiting for the bus.
“Aside from school policy — it can’t be closed everyday – when we have school, it’s good to arrange something like those rides,” Gatz said.
She said the schools close when the wind chill is negative 25 degrees or below there is no school. The kids cannot wait for the bus in those conditions.
“It goes back to basic psychology,” she said. “We have to have all our basic needs to have a good mental health and to be well in other ways.”
Beagle Elementary Dean of Students Billy Albrecht said he did not know about the posts.
“That’s awesome,” Albrecht said. “Grand Ledge has a good communal support with caring people, and it’s good because kids stay warmer with warmer equipment.”
Albrecht said the post benefits the children who usually walk to school and who had to “make the hike,” so they can get to school warm and dry.
Although it is unfortunate for a kid to live somewhere they need to take the bus — and where the weather is awful – Shari Burg, the occupational therapist at Delta Center and Beagle Elementary, said parents taking the liability for other kids show responsibility and support.
“The community gives service to some people, and the school shouldn’t be alone, because it’s a partnership,” Burg said.
Another option for kids to stay warm, Burg said is to have parents wait at the bus stop with their kids, but City Administrator Jon Bayless said parents do not always have time to wait because they have to go towork.
“That tends to create a hardship for a lot of the working parents, and you have this situation where a lot of kids, in some cases are left at home without other supervision,” Bayless said about when schools close due to the weather.
Contact Reporter Mayara Sanches (248) 464-2993 or firstname.lastname@example.org