If you follow the national news closely, you may have noticed that there’s a bill being discussed in the smallest state – Rhode Island – that is causing a huge rumble.
The bill, which is being backed by five Rhode Island state representatives, proposes that no child in grade 6 or younger should be allowed to disembark the bus after school without a parent or guardian present to collect them. Further, parents must inform the school – in writing – of the name and contact information of the person/people responsible for collecting their child from the bus, with the stipulation that anyone who does so must be at least 16 years old.
At very first glance, this bill may seem to make sense – “Well yes, of course – children that young should be looked after.” But the trouble comes when the bill is placed into practice, and in the day-to-day lives of today’s modern parents.
Parents (or the designated guardian who is available on that particular day) would need to make arrangements to leave work early to be at the bus stop, or arrange for a sitter. In the instance that the child is already arriving home to a babysitter, that babysitter would need to be at least 16 years old and have the ability to get to and from the bus stop. Gone would be the days of having the 14 year old high school freshman who lives across the street babysit for a few hours, or simply having an older sibling stay with their younger brother or sister. And of course, the key point of this piece of legislation is that the child would need to be met at the bus stop – no more allowing your second grader to walk the 50 yards from the top of the street to home. (Nevermind the fact that in Rhode Island all students who live within 1 mile of the school are permitted to walk to and from school, guardian free.)
In instances like these, where it seems like parents are destine to be stuck between a rock and a hard place, the importance of after-school enrichment programs become even more paramount. If a family’s schedules simply do not permit for someone over the age of 16 to be present at the bus stop at 3:15pm, then enrolling little Suzy or Johnny in an after-school program may be the only way to go.
It may be a bit more costly for the family (although probably not more costly than needing to leave work 2.5 hour early every day to meet the bus!), but there are numerous studies that have shown after-school programs have a very positive impact on child development. Children will have the opportunity to receive extra assistance with their schoolwork, or perhaps enroll in an after-school course that interest them, learn an instrument, or become involved in sports at a young age.
If your child’s school is looking into implementing after-school enrichment programs for students, or you are a parent hoping to make the registration/enrollment process just a bit less painless, let us help! Opportunities to coordinate classes for registration, payment, seat monitoring and the collection of other information is available at Pay4SchoolStuff.com. Visit the website to learn more.