A New York mother is fighting back against her school district after administrators and officials told her she and her son didn't have the right to bike to school together — and that his safety, even beyond school walls, was out of her hands.
Janette Kaddo Marino said their 3-mile rides to and from school in Saratoga Springs have been met with stiff opposition from officials and even a state trooper who claimed it was unsafe — and illegal — for her 12-year-old son Adam to travel on his own pair of wheels.
Undeterred, she and her seventh-grader have continued cruising to Maple Avenue Middle School this fall in defiance of a 15-year-old school regulation that effectively forces kids to take the bus or hitch a ride in a family car. "They really don't have the right to tell me how to get my kids to school," Marino said, emphasizing that she always accompanies her son and is "very safety-oriented."
"This just doesn't seem right to me that the school district would have that kind of authority over a parent," she said — noting that students have been asked not to walk to school. "We're not hurting anyone — we're just riding our bikes."
Even though administrators have tried to stop the Marinos from biking, school officials say they don't actually have the right to bar parents or students from walking or biking to school, and that the policy itself has been widely misunderstood.
"The existing policy is worded in such a way that it may lead one to believe that we're prohibiting biking to school," said Saratoga Springs superintendent Janice White. The one-sentence clause in the school board handbook looks clear enough: "The riding of bicycles by elementary pupils to and from school is prohibited."