Hi-Line survey reveals how Peet students arrive to school

Whether you’re driving, riding the bus, biking or walking, odds are there are bound to be road bumps on the commute to school, sometimes literally. 

On a recent survey of 60 Peet Junior High students, during typically warm weather seasons, over half of them carpool or get a ride with their family to and from school. Second most popular from that, 16 of 60 students ride the bus to and from school, while seven of 60 bike to school and finally only two out of the 60 walk to school on a regular basis.

When cold weather factors into commuting, it’s a whole other ball game.

Out of 60 students, it’s split directly in half between taking a bus to school or taking a car to either carpool or get a ride from a family member. 

While driving may seem like the most consistent option to the vast majority of students in terms of speed and time management, along with it come its own issues. 

Parking is a hit or miss when it comes to mornings, and some students even find it less convenient to drive when they live close because parking can cause them to have to walk further in the end anyway. 

Senior Allie Francis said, “I drive to school because it’s more convenient to be on your own time schedule, and I’m able to leave whenever I want before school,” Francis said.

For student athletes or those involved in extracurriculars, driving can make a world of difference. “If you’re carrying something for school like a sports bag, you can put that in your car instead of using your locker,” Francis said. “With parking, it depends on if you get to school later rather than earlier because if you don’t get to school early enough, it can potentially become an issue.”

Iowa weather is unpredictable; it can go from 70 degrees to 30 and a slight snow within a couple of days. Driving is not only significantly more convenient than walking, busing, biking and other options, but it’s also safer.

On the other hand, walking to school is often the last resort, or just most convenient for many families. Freshman Macy Borglum from Holmes Junior High walks to school almost every day.

“Walking is really my only option sometimes, especially on Mondays. Mondays are late start, and school starts at 9:30 instead of 8, so my parents are always already at work,” she said.

Students commonly walk when they live close enough to the point where it doesn’t become an obstacle. “I live a few blocks from school as it is, so it’s usually not an issue. The only time it’s super inconvenient is when the weather is extreme, like when it’s snowing, raining really hard or even very hot or windy,” Borglum said.

Despite the setbacks, Borglum finds it to be the most convenient in the long run.

“It ends up taking less time by walking for me. When you add up the time it takes to get in a car or bus and then deal with the traffic of kids getting dropped off and finding a parking spot, that takes the most time,” she said.

Busing is the norm for a high population of students. Some students are obliged to since they live too far away to walk, while some have the opposite issue of living too close and not making the cut. 

Taking a bus in the morning can either give students an opportunity to socialize with friends on the same bus in the morning or afternoon, or it can be a nuisance overall.

Another freshman, Lillia Willett from Holmes Junior High, has experience with busing daily.

“I live pretty far out from Holmes, so I have to bus every day. My experiences vary from morning to after school.”

Willett sometimes takes the bus in the morning; otherwise, her mom takes her every other day.  After school, she has no other option but to have to ride the bus home every day.

“When I ride in the morning, it’s always calmer environment. It might be because we’re all still half asleep, that there’s fewer people or because just in general the people are more laid back. I guess I’ll never know, but I never ride the bus with the same group of people from morning to afternoon,” Willett said.

“My ride back home is a completely different story. Kids all ages from seventh to ninth grade get extremely rowdy, often ending up in a stern warning from my bus driver. Lots of kids experience this every day, including me.”

Students feel safe riding the bus. Willett said, “I feel safe while riding the bus. It’s the drivers job to get us from school to home and vice versa safely, so I’m usually not worried. Sometimes when the weather gets distracting, the kids on the bus don’t help the situation by not being respectful.”

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