Opinion

Not cool ... but smart

Last Saturday 177 students and Yosemite High School staff chaperons filed onto three YHS school buses for the hour drive to the Madera Municipal Golf Course for the school’s 2016 Junior-Senior Prom.

Students’ feelings about getting all dressed up and then riding to Prom on a less-than-stylish yellow school bus ranged from “this is embarrassing” to “I can’t believe I’m wearing this beautiful gown, and getting on this bus to go to Prom.”

And although the vast majority of the 177 students felt the mandatory transportation provided for this year’s Prom was not “cool,” we applaud school officials for doing the “smart” thing.

We understand the excitement and the coolness of going to Prom in a limousine - but they are expensive and overrated. Besides, the boys looked just as handsome and the girls just as pretty on the school buses as they would in a limo.

We also understand that the odds of an accident are much higher with a minimum 44 vehicles (four students to a car) driven by teenagers on Highway 41, compared to three buses driven by highly qualified professionals.

Eleven teens die every day in America as a result of texting while driving. According to a recent AAA poll, 94% of teen drivers acknowledge the dangers of texting and driving, but 35% admitted to doing it anyway.

Just one serious accident involving students going to or coming home from Prom would be unbearable for the community.

The school district administrators and board of trustees acted in the best interest of the students’ safety and well-being. We’re pretty sure some 350 parents (and thousands of others) in the Mountain Area felt better Saturday night about their child’s safety knowing they were on a school bus.

As one mother said, as the three buses pulled out of the YHS parking lot, “I am so happy they are doing this - I’ll actually be able to sleep tonight.”

In addition to the safety issue, the buses also allowed for students who do not have their driver’s license to be able to attend Prom.

Schools officials say they would love to keep the Prom in the Mountains, but say locations that can accommodate the event are few in number and some have been reluctant to host the Prom.

In the meantime, school administrators are already planning to upgrade the buses next year to stylish, comfortable, air conditioned charter buses. It will be a nice upgrade for the students for their special night.

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